Is Broadband Internet Access a Right?

Posted: October 16, 2009 at 2:40 am by
Filed under Computers Politics
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finland Is Broadband Internet Access a Right?

CNN reported today that Finland is to become the first nation to declare broadband access a legal right. Starting in July of next year, telecommunication companies will be required by law to provide internet access at speeds of at least 1 megabit per second. No other nation on earth currently has this right. Finland plans to up the speed to 100 megabits per second by 2015. While you may think this is a difficult task for Finland’s government to achieve, 95% of Finland already has online access, making Finland one of he most wired countries in the world.

The United Nations also agrees, and wants member nations to deem Internet access a human right. In June, France declared Internet Access a human right, but choose not to mandate speed. Within the next few years, Europe will most likely follow Finland and formally require Internet Access to all.

In the United States, no such provisions exist nor even encourage the spread of broadband access. Many areas of the United States, especially rural areas have no broadband access. Often the only Internet access available is dial up or sate light, with the later costing at times $100+ a month. Anyone who uses the Internet in this age can testify how slow 56k a second is, and is almost unusable.

The question though, is broadband access a right? I understanding the idea of providing high speed internet to all, but at what cost? Projections by the US Federal Communications Commission estimate $350 billion dollars would be needed to expand broadband access in the US. With the US being a very large country in terms of land area, it would be a very difficult task. A better question: can we afford to do it now? With the recession and the cry s for health care reform, do we need more on our plate? While I want broadband access to spread, I would not consider it a right. Rights are very specific things, so much so that I do not feel Internet access deserves to be called a right.

Update

On July 1, 2010, Finland signed into law requiring Internet Access of at least 1.0 megabit broadband access a legal right. This is the first country to call Internet Access a right. Soon, most likely other countries will follow suit.

Source: Click Here.

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