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Internet Access a Fundamental right for four in five people
Monday 08 March 2010 10:30:32 by Andrew Ferguson

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.


Posted by drteeth over 7 years ago
So don't go and live in the country and start complaining you can't get it/
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
It is vital that rural areas get access. The feed that goes into the cities runs right through them. It isn't rocket science to run a spur or two. Problem solved. Denying them access will damage the digital economy and make costs higher in rural businesses (ie farms) making food cost more...
Posted by NetGuy over 7 years ago
Of course, that overlooks those who were born in the country, doesn't it!
Posted by NetGuy over 7 years ago
Some businesses are moving out of rural areas, anyway. It's just going to increase the 'overheating' of cities and of course, not all business can move... farms and others are being forced to use the net just to stay in business (DEFRA has requirements for tracking animals, various government/revenue sites expect internet access as standard).

Some report for the NAO showed there were around 1700 government web sites (many being made available, now, via, to streamline access and remove duplication).

Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
cyberdoyle - 'the feed' does not go through every rural area. Virtually all exchanges have broadband, the issue is the local ends. That is what needs sorting.

Please give some examples of areas where 'a feed' is close to an area without broadband. Fibre runs round the earth wire of many pylons, does that help?
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
I may be moving to a rural area soon and I accept already that I will have more expensive access, I see it as an expected downside of living in a nice green area. Most people in rural areas can get some form of broadband.
Posted by njalondon over 7 years ago
I grew up in Cornwall and now live in London, I accept that both locations have their advantages and drawbacks, I don't have clean air and greeen fields any more, but I do have 24 hour public transport and a fast internet connection, in Cornwall where my fanily reside I have green fields and dial up. You have to accept that if anywhere is to get superfast access it will be urban areas, those that choose to live in the back of beyond will have to accept it comes with a price.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
quote"I may be moving to a rural area soon and I accept already that I will have more expensive access, I see it as an expected downside of living in a nice green area. Most people in rural areas can get some form of broadband."

Its not even about broadband which is what most posts are taling about but Internet access. In theory if you can have dial up the fundamental right is already there.
Posted by MarkHampshire over 7 years ago
Why does the assumption that this concerns rural areas creep in again?

This affects all areas, rural and urban. It has to do with the distance to the exchange not the land type!
Posted by timmay over 7 years ago

Well said! There are in fact many villages (that have their own exchange) and thus have better speeds than the suburbs of towns (if there is no VM)
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
Markhampshire I was responding to cyberdoyle who is fixated on rural areas, you are bang on correct poor lines exit in both urban and rural areas.
Posted by owlnet over 7 years ago
quite right ... BT try to blame it on 'being too far from the exhange' ... but its just as likely to be frankly terrible, antiquated, ALUMINIUM landlines, not fit for broadband-purpose ... so can be both urban and rural ----but why isn't the government legislating for the 'human right' for broadband and pushing BT to do something about their landlines or finding creative alternatives for delivery.
Posted by otester over 7 years ago

When I got my line enabled, the guy said (according to his distance checker), I'd get 18Mb+.

I get 9Mb, 14Mb with DMT tool.

Two BT engineers were outside my house in their van having T, thought I'd go ask 'em...

They said it's because of aluminium cabling (not just my line but underground - back to exchange ones as well) and they won't replace it or the other cables(with copper) unless they break.

My parents copper line (~2.75 miles) vs my ~1 mile line) performs much better for its length.
Posted by kenwildon over 7 years ago
Why does broadband have to rely on out of date telephone lines?
Just a thought, but my electricity voltage doesn't drop the further I am from the generator! Would it be too much to suggest that power lines could also carry broadband frequencies?
Posted by dsf58 over 7 years ago
I really think we need to be realistic about what we mean by "fundamental". Internet access is at best a 2nd or 3rd tier "right". I think if you asked Haitians. "what do you want: food water & shelter, or dial-up access to the internet", they would answer "food water & shelter". Then I suspect they would want "medical care, law & order, work". I suspect it would be quite a while before they wanted internet access.

I can get 4M - enough (ish) for on-line viewing - a luxury. I would prefer High Speed Rail to hold the country together to universal 24M broadband.
Posted by JDPower over 7 years ago
Fundamental or fundemental? Make yer mind up Andrew ;-)
Posted by sylvantos over 7 years ago
terrorists in the uk use the internet..cut it off, and cut the tongue from all uk born babies at birth. So orson wells ish lol
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