PCCW Global
1 Aug 2018

Developing broadband for a tech savvy, ageing population

Our population is ageing. In the UK, 18% of the population is now aged over 65 and 2.4% are aged over 85. These figures will nearly double by 2035.

As our population ages, more and more people are moving into assisted living accommodation. The demand for this type of housing has grown significantly in the last 5 years with a number housing associations, local authorities and private providers investing in the sector.

Of course although the population is ageing, increasing numbers of these people are what you can describe as tech savvy. The growth and development of the internet and connectivity services from the early 2000's, where many services both for work and leisure went online means more and more people of retirement age are familiar with and use these online services. This presents a real challenge for developers and housing associations looking to provide assisted living accommodation to this increasingly technical generation.

Traditionally, assisted living consists of self contained dwellings or private rooms with communal areas, often with on-site wardens on visiting care workers. Residents live relatively independently and are frequently responsible for organising their own bills such as council tax or insurance. There's no internet provision except perhaps for back office use, residents cannot easily access the internet and so are missing out on better deals or even communicating with friends and family.

If assisted living property is to meet the needs of the next generation, developers and providers need to invest in connectivity solutions that make it much easier for their residents to get online. Optify broadband from PCCW Global has been designed specifically for assisted living accommodation. Fibre optic cables are installed to the building, connecting to a wireless overlay throughout. The service allows residents to access certain agreed websites for free within a 'walled garden' These sites could include: local authorities, GP services, citizen's advice or anything else deemed safe and relevant. Residents also have the option to purchase full access, opening up the internet to include banking, shopping and other leisure websites. Whether the sites are accessed via the walled garden or not, the adoption of fibre infrastructure ensures the service is fast, reliable and affordable.

With growth in demand for assisted living properties expected to increase, developers and operators need to look at investing in their connectivity now to better support the generation of residents moving into these properties.

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