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Broadband Policy Could Benefit Seniors

The New Millennium Research Council reports, "America is getting on the broadband wagon. According to the most recent estimates, at least one in three U.S. households now has a broadband connection to the Internet, or one that is always-on and that receives and sends data at far faster speeds than are available through dial-up telephone service.

There is wide agreement that broadband will provide enormous benefits to users and to the entire economy, especially as the take-up rate increases. But so far, relatively little attention has been paid to the potential benefits to be reaped by different groups within American society and how this in turn will generate economic benefits and cost savings over time.

It will not surprise many to know that the young � who typically are among the first to adopt many new technologies � have benefited and will continue to benefit greatly from the use of broadband. But it turns out that broadband technologies also hold great promise for a different, important and growing segment of the U.S. population: the 35 million Americans over 65 and as many as 36 million non-elderly Americans with
disabilities.

This report estimates the potential economic benefits of broadband for these populations from three sources: lower medical costs for both seniors and individuals with disabilities (which can be realized largely through broadband in the background rather than through individuals tapping away on computers); lower costs from delayed or avoided institutionalized living arrangements for senior citizens and individuals with disabilities; and additional output made possible by increased labor force participation by individuals in both groups."

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