Universal Internet Access: A Realistic View


Work data:

Type of work: Report


Digital Divide | ICT Infrastructure


This paper outlines a coherent government strategy to ensure that the benefits of the digital age reach all citizens. In the first years of the impact of digital media, a small minority has benefited. Even if digital communications technology use continues to grow at its current unprecedented rate, a large group of citizens will remain excluded from the digital age. Not only will they and their children suffer from the resulting social exclusion, but society as a whole will suffer because building broader public access, and building the information infrastructure necessary for developing an innovative modern economy, are one and the same task.

Ensuring competitive communications markets is a key to ensuring fast rollout of digital services. Even the most competitive of markets, however, will not deliver genuinely universal access without a clear and stable regulatory framework which aims to ensure that benefits reach all.

This paper examines what Government should do to reach its target of universal access to the Internet by 2005. It argues that a more co-ordinated approach to access is required and that at the centre of that approach should be the idea of a citizen’s right to access digital services, rights not only to connectivity, but also to content.