Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness… and a fast internet connection. It’s no surprise that a government’s inability to provide the former three items to its populace will infuriate citizens, but it may surprise you how highly fast internet access is valued these days.
Take rural Great Britain as an example. Many citizens only have access to obnoxiously slow broadband connections, often at speeds “of less than 2 megabits per second” (Ofcom). This has become an issue of national importance, warranting the attention of the UK’s Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:
“[Environment Secretary] Owen Paterson said broadband access was crucial if the rural economy was to be reinvigorated, claiming that faster internet speeds would bring more prosperity to the countryside than canals and railways did in the industrial revolution.”
The key to prosperity among the plowed fields and bumpy back roads (and laptops) of the British farm country was once the ability to physically transport goods from one place to another; now it is the ability to transport information. As the internet becomes essential to human welfare, it seems that all governments that value equality must ensure internet access of similar speeds to every citizen.
Is fast and secure broadband access on track to becoming a basic human right? Let us know in the comments.