19% of isle households not linked with internet
Question: Too many times the media, the government, the schools and everything act like it’s easy for anyone to look stuff up online. But we don’t all have a smartphone orcomputer or even internet access at home! What percentage of people in Hawaii are connected to the internet? I don’t think I am alone.
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Question: Too many times the media, the government, the schools and everything act like it’s easy for anyone to look stuff up online. But we don’t all have a smartphone or computer or even internet access at home! What percentage of people in Hawaii are connected to the internet? I don’t think I am alone.
Answer: You are not alone but you are in the minority. In 2014, 87 percent of Hawaii households had a computer, and 81 percent of Hawaii households subscribed to broadband internet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
High-speed internet is more available in Hawaii than in the U.S. overall, according to the 2016 Broadband Progress Report adopted by the Federal Communications Commission. Nationwide, 10 percent of people lacked access to fixed, advanced telecommunications capability, meaning it wasn’t available even if the people were willing to pay for it, the report said. In Hawaii that figure was 2 percent.
Most of the people who lack broadband internet access live in rural areas. For the nation overall, 39 percent of rural residents lacked such access. In Hawaii, 22 percent of rural residents lacked access, according to the report.
Meanwhile the speed at which Hawaii residents connect to the internet is improving. Hawaii’s average peak connection speed of 59.1 megabits per second in the fourth quarter of 2015 was 38 percent faster than in the last quarter of 2014, according to a report by the content delivery network Akamai.
Hawaii’s public libraries are a great place to learn how to use a computer and gain free online access, if you are interested.
Q: You mentioned the state tax office is warning about tax-lien scams (808ne.ws/2127Ebm), but you should remind readers about fraudulent phone calls, too. I am still getting phone calls (falsely claiming to be from the IRS) that say I am being sued by the IRS and order me to call back.
A: You are correct that the calls are fraudulent. As we have previously reported, the IRS notifies taxpayers by regular mail, not by phone, email or social media. If you receive a threatening phone message, don’t return the call. If you pick up the phone and are greeted by someone you suspect is impersonating an IRS agent, hang up; do not engage the caller.
The IRS does mail letters to taxpayers for a variety of reasons. David A. Tucker II, a spokesman for the agency, offers these tips for any taxpayer who receives a legitimate notice from the IRS:
>> For most notices, you won’t need to call or visit a walk-in center. If you have questions, call the phone number in the upper right-hand corner of the notice. Be sure to have a copy of your tax return and the notice when you call.
>> Be alert for tax scams. The IRS sends letters and notices by mail. It doesn’t contact people by email or social media to ask for personal or financial information. If you owe tax, you have several payment options. The IRS won’t demand that you pay a certain way, such as with a prepaid debit or credit card.
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