Internet access as a human right remains a hotly debated topic. However, in the post-pandemic world, it is one that is becoming increasingly biased towards the affirmative. The data report reports that 63% of the world’s population uses the Internet daily. When internet access is a requirement of functionality in the modern world, when does it become a human right?
When the world shut down in 2020, everything went online. Many jobs continued to exist in remote areas. The school quickly moved to a virtual environment. Even activities of daily living, such as doctor visits and social interactions, have been digitized.
As the world emerged from the new lockdown and quarantine stages, the internet remained in the spotlight. If this emphasis on the Internet as need Rather than a want to leads to its qualification as a human right in the future, it will not only affect consumers. It will also have a dramatic effect on technology companies.
Regulation will influence everything
It’s no secret that when something becomes a human right, regulators treat it differently. For example, as steel and oil became important in the late 19th century, antitrust laws have been introduced to prevent certain companies from dominating the offer.
At this point, the Internet has become as important as these commodities. If the government officially considered it a human right, tech companies could expect more regulations to trickle down to them. It’s something even tech executives love Mark Zuckerberg we’ve been talking about for years.
The concept of the FCC regulating the Internet is not new. But as the internet slots further down the list of life’s necessities, tech leaders should be prepared for more hoops to jump through.
Quality will be in the spotlight
If Internet access becomes a right, market competition will likely change. Rather than focusing on whether or not a consumer can connect to the internet in the first place, providers will need to take a more accommodating approach to their customers.
Smart Wi-Fi company Plume recently shed light on the seriousness of poor customer service in the internet space. The company indicated that CSPs (communications service providers) have a 20% mixed churn rate. He added that 39% of those who canceled a contract with a CSP in the last two years cited customer service as the main reason for doing so.
As the number of homes with working Wi-Fi networks approaches 100%, the number of people with problems will increase. Businesses that can best meet these needs will have the best chance of winning loyal customers and maintaining sustained growth in a world where the internet is required.
Tech companies could face future content battles
If the Internet becomes a necessity, it may only be a matter of time before the issue of rights shifts to the content it provides. While it’s a more nuanced battle, like anti-trust laws for oil and steel, it’s nothing new.
The Romans are famous for offering bread and circuses to their underprivileged citizens. While this included vital food, it also offered a healthy dose of free entertainment – something that’s certainly less ‘necessary’.
If internet access becomes a human right, will it only be a matter of time before access to and affordability of online entertainment will also come into question?
by Gartner The definition of CSPs contains content and application service providers (or CASPs). This generic term includes companies such as Yahoo and Google. The latter is a major driver of online content, and the battle is already heating up over its monopoly dominance of the interweb. Is it too foreign to assume that access to the Internet as a human right could possibly extend to the content of this communication channel as well?
From increased regulations to quality control to content battles, the concept of free or subsidized Internet access carries both risks and opportunities for technology companies. Although there are historical precedents, many factors are at play here. Adaptability will be important as the tech industry heads into a wild and unpredictable future.