Not just any internet access; high speed access. Broadband access. The organization spearheading this movement claims that Americans pay too much for too little, compared to other countries, and that the country as a whole suffers.Internet search is rapidly replacing many other modes of information sharing.
As we move forward towards the year 2010, several big names in the internet biz have voiced their opinions of how the shift to all things web based will continue; Steve Ballmer of Microsoft believes all media will be fully electronic in ten years.
The question remains: is internet access a basic human right? In 2007, the country of Burma was the site of major controversy over an inoperable cable. Nepal was cut off entirely from access during a period of martial tumult, and various countries have fought a bitter war over governments’ censorship and restrictions on the internet usage of their citizens.
There seems to be little doubt among most that internet is a form of media and communication, and should not be banned or restricted. Americans are jealous of their free speech, and the courts seem inclined to uphold that right. The UN is leaning in the same direction.
Does the government have to provide internet? Ahh, this is a tricky area. Many municipalities are considering whether or not to add internet access to their cities’ basic services such as water, sewer and trash collection. Libraries, however, often offer limited internet access, and many cities already have WiFi hotspots.
Should the internet providers offer free access? Google has hooked various municipalities up, and sets the standard for free WiFi. A hilarious spoof exists online as well, offering free internet installable by flushing one end of a cable down your toilet, or by employing nanobots to carry it through the sewer system.
Really, the main reason for the high price of internet in the US is the same reason everything else is so expensive here – a little thing called free trade. Yeah, maybe it means not everyone has internet, television, or phone service (or medical care!), but there are still concerns over what happens when you start demanding the government to provide for all your needs. The care of Big Brother often comes with a price tag not many are willing to pay.