UK’s Labour Party has realized what an important role the internet plays in today’s world. Hence, in an attempt to incentivize people they have promised to provide free internet to every household if they win the general election this time. They plan on nationalizing the broadband business as well as heavily taxing internet giants. This shows how important the internet has become for politics as well.
They may have hit a nerve here, because if you think about it, there is no aspect of our life anymore that the internet does not play a role in. With the extent to which things are dependent on the internet these days, it should rather become a human right. Thus, available free of charge to anyone who cannot afford it globally. If not free, it should at least be economical. There are some internet service providers who realize this right now as well, contact AT&T customer service and you will see that they provide a high-speed internet connection at a reasonable price.
Free speech, free information, and free association are among the fundamental human rights according to the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and rightly so. However, the internet has become crucial for the humans of the modern world to practice these rights. In fact, for an average human to lead a decent life and practice his or her political rights the internet has become essential. From voting, finding an address, ordering food, or researching for school, everything is conducted online these days. Hence, equal internet access opportunities should be available to everyone.
Before the advent of the internet, people had very simple lives and had almost equal opportunities regarding the exercising of political rights. They had newspapers as their political representatives and would physically attend public meetings held by organizations they joined. It’s not the same anymore.
The Advent Of The Internet
However, once the internet was introduced into the picture, everything changed. The few who had access to it had an advantage over the ones who did not. Publishing your views for millions to see, collaborating with millions of like-minded individuals without the need of being physically present, and accessing political information became as easy as snapping your fingers.
It has come to a point where most of the political debates and campaigns are conducted online, so technically the internet is imperative to exercising exercise your political rights. Hence, it should be a human right so that everyone has equal opportunities to practice their political freedom.
A Human Right
As I previously said, the internet should preferably be open to all, but access to a reasonably priced link should suffice. It should, however, be unrestricted, uncensored, and unsupervised. A decent connection should also be open to all, regardless of their financial situation. As a result, governments can finance internet access like any other welfare service, such as legal counsel, so that it can be given for free to anyone who cannot afford it.
Internet In Developing Countries
It would be unrealistic to expect universal internet access in developing countries due to the high costs of digital infrastructure. Although, technology is becoming cheaper and it can be done in the future if the governments start working towards it. The first step could be to provide free public Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the country, using the best rural internet options available, since the majority of the population even in developing countries has access to a smart device of some sort. Providing digital skills and encouraging gender equality would also be a great help towards achieving this goal.
Internet In Developed Countries
In addition to helping the developing countries achieve their goal of universal internet access, developed countries like the U.S.A should also work towards the same goal. With public Wi-Fi hotspots already available throughout the country already, things do not have to start from scratch.
There are many advantages that can be seen as a nation if everyone has access to the internet. Universal internet access will be a boon to the masses, offering better opportunities for individuals as well as economic growth as a country. As a result, governments around the world should make it a priority to work toward offering approximately equal virtual opportunities.