To a meeting in BT’s head office in Belfast’s Lanyon Tower this morning. As a member of the steering group for Click Thinking, we met with representatives of organisations working for older people. The objective of Click Thinking is to give people who might be excluded from digital developments the confidence, skills, knowledge and understanding to embrace digital technology.
In his introduction Frank McManus from BT explained that there are now 300,000+ broadband connections in Northern Ireland. There are around 700,000 homes in Northern Ireland. The potential of a digitally divided society needs to be challenged. Older people are one of the groups who are likely to need more encouragement than the rest of the population. At present 47% of people between 50 and 65 use broadband while only 14% of people over 65 use broadband. While appreciating usage of broadband is only one measure of digital inclusion, it is a useful one.
Cost, confidence, relevance, capability and access are the main reasons why older people can become digitaly excluded.