DC Public Library Partnership Helps Increase Broadband Internet Use by Seniors

While the FCC’s newly-released National Broadband Plan recommends creating partnerships to increase the relevance of broadband Internet among older Americans, 60 District residents received a free computer after completing a DC Public Library sponsored computer-training program.

“This program addressed the cost, relevance and comfort with technology barriers outlined in the National Broadband Plan as critical for increasing the number of older Americans using Internet at home,” said Chris Tonjes, chief information officer with the DC Public Library. “District residents aged 55 and over received free training at the Woodridge or Francis A. Gregory Neighborhood Library and, through our partners, received the equipment needed to connect to the Internet.”

The training program, which began in January 2010, has shown 177 seniors how to use a computer and the Internet. At the end of the program, participants received refurbished computers from First Time Computers and low-income participants received two-years of free broadband Internet access from Cricket Wireless and One Economy.

The program was funded by the Holden Bequest, a gift given to the DC Public Library to benefit the Woodridge and Francis A. Gregory Neighborhood Libraries. It was used to support the partnership with Byte Back, First Time Computers, the Office of the Chief Technology Officer Google, Qualcomm, Cricket Wireless and One Economy.