The Connected Nation Blog: April 2010

Monday, April 26, 2010

Project GOAL Aims at Getting Grandparents Online

Annie Woodsen, 91, shows off her graduation certificate which she earned from a senior computer training class sponsored by the Tennessee Community Foundation in Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee.

Worrying about an aging loved one seems as American as apple pie.

Wishing grandpa had easier access to doctors and medical information;

Wishing grandma was better able to do the grocery and gift shopping that always gave her a sense of purpose;

Wishing they both could talk to their distant loved ones face-to-face more often.

These are the kind of wishes that can easily come true immediately by simply hooking up a computer to the Internet and teaching them how to use it. And now, a new organization is taking aim at accomplishing just that.

Project Get Older Adults onLine, or Project GOAL, has just been launched with its mission aimed at providing technology training resources for older adults and for organizations that serve older populations and their members. The training is meant to get senior citizens past the technology fear factor and plug them into the benefits of broadband. Project organizers point out how the Internet can reduce social isolation for seniors, help them stay connected to family members, keep their minds sharp, assist them in research on health or other information, connect them directly with doctors and medical monitoring, and help them accomplish chores like shopping without ever leaving home.

The fact is, high-speed Internet can greatly enrich the lives of older people, yet only 35 percent of Americans over the age of 65 have broadband at home. Project GOAL will work with seniors groups to match them with technology training in their area and help give them the resources they need to teach the elderly how to tap into the world of broadband.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is championing the new initiative and Project GOAL is backed by a number of technology companies like AT&T, Comcast, Facebook, Microsoft, T-Mobile, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, and The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA). Connected Nation is serving as an advisory member along with AARP and the American Telemedicine Association.

Staff from the Jefferson County, Tenn. Office on Aging stand with a student during a recent senior citizens technologically training course.

Related Articles:
News Article: Elderly Encouraged to Reap Benefits of Broadband (AOL News, 04/06/2010)
News Article:
Tech Titans Encourage Seniors to Go Online (PC Magazine, 04/06/2010)

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Two Connected Nation State-Based Initiatives Receive National Recognition on Capitol Hill

Listen: Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass. on ConnectKentucky
Listen: Rep. Zachary T. Space, D-Ohio on Connect Ohio

As discussion of the National Broadband Plan moves forward, Connected Nation’s state-level work continues to garner attention on the national level.

In a hearing of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet held on Wednesday on Capitol Hill, two subcommittee members pointed to the work of Connected Nation in Kentucky and Ohio as successful models of broadband adoption and deployment programs in the United States.

The hearing examined assessments in the National Broadband Plan of the availability of broadband and how most effectively to deploy broadband to areas that are unserved and underserved, so all Americans can benefit from good-quality broadband services.

Representative Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., addressed questions about the Broadband Data Improvement Act, which was passed in 2008. Markey said that Congress modeled the BDIA after Connected Nation’s ConnectKentucky program, which began in 2004. The key components of the ConnectKentucky model include grassroots-level demand stimulation, community-based technology assessment teams, and the creation of public-private partnerships.

In addition to the mention of ConnectKentucky’s model,
Connect Ohio, another state-based Connected Nation program, received praise during the hearing. Representative Zachary T. Space, D-Ohio, said he had a lot of faith in the work being done at Connect Ohio and had a map of Ohio’s broadband coverage as proof.

Connect Ohio began in 2007 to help expand access to and use of broadband in Ohio. According to Connect Ohio’s
June 2009 Technology Assessment, 95 percent of Ohio households have available broadband service. This figure is up from 92 percent the previous year.

To listen to the full hearing,
download or stream the audio here.