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AARP Nebraska backs bills to expand broadband

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AARP Nebraska supports a pair of bills to help expand high-speed internet to underserved residents.

LB992, introduced by Sen. Curt Friesen, would encourage and facilitate the deployment and adoption of high-speed internet service, also known as broadband, in rural areas. Rural Nebraska especially lags behind, with many residents experiencing substandard internet service.

Danny DeLong, an AARP Nebraska volunteer spokesperson, told the Legislature’s Transportation and Telecommunications Committee at Monday’s hearing that all Nebraskans should have access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet regardless of their age, income and location.

“LB992 will help bring high-speed internet access to residents in our state who live in areas that the nation’s broadband infrastructure has bypassed,” he said. “These communities are on the wrong side of the digital divide because broadband providers have not found it profitable to serve them.”

High-speed internet can help older Nebraskans avoid isolation and remain independent as they age with a higher quality of life. For example, telehealth allows older persons to obtain affordable health care with a live, two-way interaction between patients, caregivers and providers but requires a broadband internet platform.

AARP also supports LB996 to improve broadband data collection and more accurate broadband mapping, which will assist in targeting funds for broadband deployment where they are most needed.

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