Case Study Broadband for Seniors

Minister Jenny Macklin with John McMahon and Maria Dabrowa at the official opening of the 2,000th Broadband for Seniors kiosk, at Yarraville Senior Citizens Club, Victoria in February 2011

Minister Jenny Macklin with John McMahon and Maria Dabrowa at the official opening of the 2,000th Broadband for Seniors kiosk, at Yarraville Senior Citizens Club, Victoria in February 2011

Many Australian senior citizens struggle with modern IT communication systems and can miss out on communicating with friends and family in ways that others take for granted. Broadband for Seniors is an initiative funded by FaHCSIA and implemented through the private company NEC Australia to provide older Australians with free access to computers and the internet, as well as training in basic computing skills.

A Broadband for Seniors kiosk hosted by Queensland’s Diamantina Shire Council is a popular site for senior members of the Aboriginal community. They love the kiosk and use it constantly to improve their computer skills and communicate with relatives in other towns.

Volunteer tutors teach seniors, who learn at their own pace how to use the internet and send emails. The local council reports that the kiosk is a great community asset and has allowed seniors to overcome their fear of computers. It is not just the locals who benefit from this initiative; seniors visiting the Diamantina community often stop in to use the kiosk.

The Lions Club of Toukley in New South Wales also hosts a Broadband for Seniors internet kiosk and has assisted more than 120 seniors to complete the introductory syllabus. The volunteer tutors at the kiosk have expressed their enjoyment and satisfaction at working with a group of people who were initially apprehensive but are now eager to learn and explore the internet. One 95‐year‐old now keeps in touch with friends and family through regular emails. Other kiosk users have stated that Broadband for Seniors has helped them relate better to their grandchildren and great‐grandchildren.

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