Dutchess County High Speed Internet Survey

If you use the internet, you may have more than a passing hunch that the service you’re paying for is neither as fast nor as reliable as advertised, even if you’re not an advanced internet user.

Poor internet service is much more than an inconvenience.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, access to services like telemedicine was no longer just a “nice to have” feature for seniors. Telemedicine use experienced years of growth in a few weeks in 2020. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported that the number of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries using telemedicine jumped from 15,000 at the start of 2020 to over 2 million by May of that year.

From then on, the number of beneficiaries using telemedicine has remained over 750,000: a clear indication telemedicine is here to stay as an essential part of seniors’ health care.

Reliable high-speed internet is also key to public safety. Here’s just one example: Advisories and alerts can be sent directly to individuals in the path of a dangerous storm. Those people will be much more likely to receive the alert on a mobile device and act on it than they would’ve been when terrestrial radio was the quickest communication option. But that’s only true if the internet service carrying the advisories is reliable. Somebody involved in an accident in a rural area is in enough danger without having to worry that the responding ambulance can’t find them or communicate with the emergency room because of “dead spots” in coverage.

Poor broadband coverage was a problem before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now it’s a crisis.

To meet the challenge of improving broadband coverage in Dutchess County, we first need to measure the extent of the issues — and that’s where your help is vital. Go to www.dutchessny.gov/highspeedinternet and complete a quick survey about internet access at your home or business. If you have questions, email broadband@dutchessny.gov.

If you’re not online, your help is also essential. Get a paper version of the survey by contacting Dutchess County Emergency Management at 845-486-2080.

 

Golden Living is prepared by Dutchess County OFA Director Todd N. Tancredi, who can be reached at 845-486-2555, ofa@dutchessny.gov or via the OFA website at www.dutchessny.gov/aging.

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