In the last couple of months there has been much news about the Canadian Radio -Television Communications Commission (CRTC) review on whether broad band internet service should be considered an essential service. The review is based on questions about what telecom services consumers rely on the most, if there should be a basic cost applied regardless of one’s location and more importantly should there be a minimum standard of internet service with a focus on rural areas. http://www.thestar.com/business/2016/01/14/crtc-asks-what-telecom-services-we-think-are-essential.html
As I discussed in the past the ability to engage in social media is strongly based on the internet access an individual has. https://algonquincollegesocialmedia.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/my-complaint/
Lower income individuals may not have internet access at home and therefore rely on the ability to access it at a nearby library or other public venue. When we question the access of the internet in remote areas, which we have a lot of in Canada, is it fair to hike the cost of broadband access due to the area you live in? Also, in light of growing reliance on the internet and social media outlets by organizations, private and public, to broadcast new information, new product and services and as a way of hiring staff, accessibility becomes an important question. Should equal rights to the internet be administered into law as equal rights to education, to accessibility due to one’s disability or to gender equality?
I don’t agree with the idea that broad band should be considered an essential service. When I think of essential services I think of “do or die” type of services. I would hate to think that we are comparing the internet and information and or opportunities it brings to an individual, to the paramedic we call upon to save a life, or a police officer that intervene in a dispute, or the vast number of medical services used on a daily basis to save lives. The internet, not quite that essential. That said, access to the internet should be more readily available and affordable. I think we should review the question of equal rights to the service and opportunities internet access provides as a way of improving the economy and supporting communities that may otherwise be very separated from businesses and organization that support the community and the families in that community’s needs.