The Inalienable Right to Broadband
Should government at any level get involved in the deployment and ownership of high-speed data infrastructure?Should government at any level get involved in the deployment and ownership of high-speed data infrastructure? Its a question that will have to be addressed eventually, as several readers pointed out in response to my March 4 article on the future of broadband access in the United States. These days, its extremely unfashionable to suggest any role for government in just about any aspect of our lives. But its hard to escape the fact that our ability to participate as citizens and consumers is increasingly dependent on access to a dependable high-speed infrastructure. And while the notion of a digital divide is abstract conjecture today, tomorrow were going to have to grapple with whether some minimum level of broadband access has become a fundamental human right.
Motivated by cost savings, environmental concerns and increased productivity, governments, from city halls to Congress and the White House, are relocating records, services and operations to cyberspace. Eventually, anyone who is limited to dial-up access will become a second-class citizen, an issue that will never be fully resolved until we all have fiber to our homes or wireless connectivity as ubiquitous as the air.