Kansas voters: expanding high-speed internet access
Kansas voters aged 50 and over overwhelmingly agree Kansas elected officials should ensure high-speed internet is available to all Kansans, regardless of where they live, according to a new poll from the AARP. In addition, the majority of voters support the development of partnerships to bring affordable high-speed Internet access to more of Kansas, as well as the state’s action to encourage Internet service providers to expand Internet service. broadband to unserved rural areas.
High-speed internet (often referred to as ‘broadband’) provides access to an ever-growing range of information and online resources that can improve the quality of life for people of all ages and help older people to live well. autonomous way. In the age of COVID and social distancing, the need for reliable and affordable high-speed internet is now more important than ever.
The technology, faster and more reliable than outdated dial-up service, has the potential to reduce the risk of social isolation by facilitating social connections, providing access to important support services (including telehealth) that can not be available locally, promote learning by providing access to unlimited information and helping local businesses grow by serving clients outside of their geographic area.
The survey also shows widespread internet use, including a significant share of voters reporting increased home internet use now compared to before the COVID 19 pandemic. However, some voters – particularly those in rural areas – report that broadband internet access is an issue in their local community and that quality, cost and / or availability has limited their home internet use.
Support for expanding broadband internet access
Three in four (76%) voters aged 50 and over agree Kansas elected officials should ensure high-speed internet is accessible to all Kansans, regardless of where they live. In fact, regardless of their political affiliation, at least seven in ten voters think this way.
Two in three voters (66%) support the development of partnerships between state and local governments, Internet service providers and local nonprofits and businesses to bring affordable high-speed Internet access to a greater portion of the population. Kansas.
Almost two in three voters (64%) support the state’s action to offer incentives to internet providers to extend broadband internet service to rural areas that currently do not have access.
Home internet use on the rise
Much of the investigation indicates widespread Internet addiction. More than nine in 10 respondents (93%) use the Internet, with most (86%) accessing it at least once a day.
In fact, more than one in three home internet users (36%) say their household uses the internet more at home now than before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Internet users at home have used the Internet in a variety of ways during the pandemic to stay in touch with others and to meet important needs such as paying bills, obtaining health care and working remotely.
- The majority of internet home users have shopped online (78%), used social media (73%), paid bills online (69%), streamed TV shows or movies (63%) , have video chatted with friends or family (53%) and attended a live virtual event (48%).
- Six in 10 (61%) have used the Internet for at least one of the following health-related reasons:
- to make a medical appointment or order prescriptions (49%),
- for information on health or fitness (47%),
- attend a medical appointment online (36%).
- Almost four in ten have used the Internet to work remotely (37%).
Yet rural areas face more challenges
More than one in three (35%) Kansas voters over the age of 50 say high-speed internet access is an issue in their local community, including more than half (53%) of voters in the zones rural.
Rural internet users also report having experienced more home internet problems in the past 12 months related to bandwidth and multiple users than non-rural users. For example, 26% of rural home internet users vs. 19% of non-rural home internet users report problems due to bandwidth, and 26% of rural home internet users vs. 16% of non-rural home internet users report problems due to multiple users.
The types of home Internet connections reported by rural Internet users contrast sharply with the types of connections reported by non-rural users. While 72% of non-rural home Internet users have a cable or fiber-optic Internet connection, only 35% of rural home Internet users report the same. Rural home Internet users are more likely than non-rural users to rely on satellite (13% of rural vs. 2% of non-rural), fixed wireless (9% vs. 2%), or to say that cell service is their only method of access. Internet at home (13% vs. 6%).
Overall, three-quarters (75%) of internet home users say they do not have a fiber optic internet connection at home, which is typically the fastest type of internet service. When asked to indicate their “main” reasons for not having fiber, more than four in ten cite a lack of availability. Rural Internet users without fiber at home are more likely than their non-rural counterparts to cite lack of availability (64% vs. 35%, respectively).
The AARP telephone survey was conducted among 1,202 registered voters aged 50 and over in Kansas. Forty percent of those surveyed were reached on a mobile phone. The survey was administered by Alan Newman Research between May 11, 2021 and May 25, 2021.
Brown, S. Kathi. High Speed Internet: Views of Kansas Voters 50 and Over. Washington, DC: AARP Research, October 2021. https://doi.org/10.26419/res.00463.001