On behalf of its 1.6 million members, AARP Illinois commends Governor Bruce Rauner for signing House Bill 5752, which establishes a broadband advisory council to explore ways to expand and increase broadband throughout Illinois, into law. AARP Illinois also commends House sponsor Representative Natalie Phelps Finnie and Senate sponsor Senator Linda Holmes for their hard work passing this bi-partisan legislation through the Illinois General Assembly.
A statement from AARP Illinois Director of Advocacy & Outreach Ryan Gruenenfelder as follows:
“ Access to broadband is no longer a luxury. It’s how we do business, connect with our friends and loved ones, and receive our health care. Bringing broadband to every corner of Illinois is one way to ensure our older residents can age in their own homes, instead of more costly institutions. Broadband has become a necessity for Illinoisans of all ages, delivering new technologies to improve our quality and life, help older people live independently in their homes, and support services like distance learning, telehealth, and at-home medical monitoring. Unfortunately, many areas of Illinois remain unserved or underserved by high-speed internet access.
“We applaud Governor Rauner for signing this important, bi-partisan legislation into law, and commend Representative Phelps Finnie and Senator Holmes for championing this legislation through the Illinois General Assembly. It’s time to ensure every Illinoisan has access to this critical service.”
Broadband offers important benefits to older Illinoisans, including increased access to telehealth services that virtually bring providers into a patient’s own home. High-speed internet access also decreases social isolation, allowing older people to communicate with family and friends anywhere in the world. A study by the AARP Public Policy Institute found that the absence of social contact is associated with an estimated $6.7 billion in additional Medicare spending each year.
HB 5752 takes an important step forward by establishing a broadband advisory council to explore ways to expand broadband throughout Illinois. Among its duties, the council will identify barriers to broadband access and potential solutions, explore how broadband can facilitate aging-in-place initiatives, and serve as an advocate to state agencies about the need for broadband in underserved communities.
“By signing this important, bipartisan legislation, you are moving our state toward the widespread adoption of technology to help all Illinoisans live healthier, longer and happier lives.” Says Ryan Gruenenfelder, Director of Advocacy & Outreach, AARP Illinois.
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the nation's largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.