Britons say broadband is an essential utility

The worlds network
Creative Commons License photo: saschaaa

BBC News reported yesterday on research carried out by the Communications Consumer Panel showing that UK consumers are increasingly considering broadband to be an essential utility.

The chair of the Communications Consumer Panel Anna Bradley said: “The key message is that people think broadband is at a tipping point.

“It’s fantastically useful for everyone, essential for some now, but will be essential for everyone in the near future.

“It is being compared by consumers to gas and electricity – things which they think we all ought to have access to, almost as a right.”

Those questioned in the survey said people who did not have broadband would be at a disadvantage, missing out on services such as shopping, banking and public services as they were increasingly being delivered online.

Creative Commons License photo: James Laurence Stewart

I’ve argued before on this blog, several times, that I believe internet access should be a fundamental right. Internet access is becoming a pre-requisite for being able to participate in society: being able to manage your bank account and finances, apply for a driving license and passport, keep in touch with friends via social networking sites and email, accessing entertainment via iPlayer and YouTube and shopping online at Amazon or eBay.

I’ve argued that it is disproportionate for somebody to lose their internet access for copyright theft, like in a draft law in France. It would seem like the British public agree with me on this one and our MEPs are backing us. Let’s hope that our digital rights continue to be protected.

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