Error 404: Control of the Right to Broadband

Access to broadband is fundamental to modern communication and development, but who are its gatekeepers?

By John McNeil.

As countries begin to recognize the right to Internet access as a human right, a subsidiary of freedom of expression, we are forced to reconsider what exactly constitutes a human right. After all, what good is the Internet to someone without clean drinking water? Experts agree that though increased Internet access gives developing nations access to global markets and improves their performance in all other areas of development, it is not a development goal in and of itself. Rising out of new technology and creating a new world of interconnectedness and speed, the Internet has brought with it new opportunities and new threats, making it a human right unlike any other.

Geneva—Establishing the Principles

What value does the Internet have to developing regions? A lot, it turns out.

The right to broadband movement has its origins in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). This consisted of two conferences, one held in Geneva in 2003 and one in Tunis in 2005, with the purpose of recognizing the importance of information and communication technology (ICT) in meeting international goals. As explained on the summit’s website:

“The digital revolution has fundamentally changed the way people think, behave, communicate, work and earn their livelihood. It has forged new ways to create knowledge, educate people and disseminate information. It has restructured the way …

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