The internet has rapidly become a basic human right and an essential element of daily life. Whether you’re looking for a new job, or want to communicate with relatives, it’s almost impossible to think of a situation where the internet isn’t a necessity. The UK government agrees with this stance and pledged a universal service obligation” to provide an affordable fast connection. More specifically, the Prime Minister promised speeds of 10Mbps by 2020 and said:
“Access to the internet shouldn’t be a luxury, it should be a right—absolutely fundamental to life in 21st Century Britain,” said David Cameron. “Just as our forebears effectively brought gas, electricity and water to all, we’re going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it.”
The service obligation gives broadband parity with other services like water and heating. While it’s always welcome to see a government acknowledge the internet’s importance, 10Mbps will be pretty slow by 2020, and isn’t overly fast by today’s standards. On another note, this is the same government which drafted extremely intrusive and controversial legislation which forces internet service providers to monitor every website you visit within a 12 month period.
Even more astounding, the government can access this data, and snoop into your daily life. Encryption to evade these new measures will be banned. Not only that, the government is well-known for increasing broadband prices through their pointless anti-piracy censorship. In the past few years, the UK government has applied pressure on ISPs to block torrent sites, which can easily be circumvented with a simple proxy. When the ISPs originally resisted, this resorted in legal proceedings and increased the monthly broadband service costs.
Also, David Cameron’s crusade against porn, and implementing a opt-out filtering scheme, is another stupid decision as the government attempts to control an open, worldwide infrastructure. Given the government’s previous actions and promises, it’s difficult to take the latest one seriously.