While not everyone wants to use, or some may feel they are forced into using the Internet, a survey for the BBC by Globespan has revealed that 87% of Internet users feel access should be a 'fundemental right for all people'.
The survey covered some 26 countries and involved 27,000 adults. In some cases the response is as you would expect, e.g. South Korea, where the 87% figure rose to 96%. Some countries, one would not normally expect, such as Mexico, Brazil and Turkey most strongly support people having a right to Internet access.
"The right to communicate cannot be ignored,...
The internet is the most powerful potential source of enlightenment ever created. ... regard the internet as basic infrastructure - just like roads, waste and water. We have entered the knowledge society and everyone must have access to participate."Dr Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
The problem many nations face now is meeting this demand for Internet access, the freedom of access to information can often also go against traditional control based power structures. Among UK respondents some 55% believed there was a case for the government to be involved in some regulation, the problem for policy makers and the populace at large is how much control is just right.
One rapidly changing area is the influence that large companies can now have on government policy particularly as the commercial aspects of the Internet mature. Through lobbying, there is the danger that a firm may be able to fight and maintain a commercial status quo, but as history shows while a company can fight off change investing in old products, eventually the market will move on and shatter the status quo. The firms that adapt and change are most likely to continue.