December 3, 2009

AUSTRALIA: Broadband for Seniors Aims At Community Participation

. SYDNEY, NSW / Australian Aging Agenda / December 3, 2009 NEC Australia has launched a social networking site like Facebook targeted for older Australians. The community portal will enable seniors to communicate online with their friends and family. The site will also contain Centrelink Pension news, information on retirement and seniors’ health updates. NEC Australia is also working with the federal government to deliver over 2,000 internet kiosks to communities around the country. The Broadband for Seniors program aims to build community participation and social communication among older Australians. The group manager of NEC Australia, David Cooke said access to the internet enables older people to live fuller lives. “Our community portal provides a place where family members can share contact with older relatives,” he said. “Photos can be deposited onto the community site as well as allowing older Australian to access community, social and assistance information. “In a lot of cases, tech-savvy grandchildren are the drivers for older Australians to learn more about the internet and stay involved in the lives of their families.” The NEC Community Portal homepages offers links to a search engine and online games as well as websites about key interest areas such as gardening, golf and cooking. “We are moving to a broadband enabled society, and delivering information, learning and social engagement through broadband has proven positive effects on well being, and can fend off the loneliness people often feel as they get older,” said Mr Cooke. Seniors World Chronicle adds: The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) has selected NEC Australia Pty Ltd and its consortium members Adult Learning Australia (ALA), the Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association (ASCCA) and the University of the Third Age Online (U3A Online) to deliver the Broadband for Seniors initiative nationally. This is stated on the home page of the site. The Australian Government has committed $15 million over three years (2008-2011) to provide free access to computers, broadband services and training to seniors.[rc] © The Intermedia Group.