Broadband, a Civil Right?

David Byrd : Byrd's Eye View
David Byrd
Chief Marketing Officer for ANPI

Broadband, a Civil Right?

Never does it fail that when a group of bureaucrats get together silly mind numbing thoughts will flow. Regardless of the country, format, subject or education, the pronouncements by these public servants continue to amaze and infuriate those us that think. International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure challenged global leaders to make access to high-speed networks a basic civil right. He delivered a Broadband Commission for Digital Development report to the UN that declares there must be "Broadband Inclusion for All".

How incredibly irresponsible and ridiculous can a group of bureaucrats get? Now, most of you understand that I support the expansion of IP communications, especially VoIP and SIP Trunking, with the same energy as I approach a great meal. I revel in the success of both. If I could sell a Broadvox SIP Trunk to every business on the planet, the world would be a better place and I could accelerate my retirement plans. However, for a UN commission to declare broadband access as a "civil right" or even as "virtuous" is in explicable.

According to the UN, nearly a billion people are malnourished every day. I guess "malnourished" is the politically correct way of saying "starving". A recent report regarding poverty in the US has seen the number of Americans below the poverty line increase to 44 million people. If the UN wants to establish "eating" as a civil right, I am there. When I think of civil rights, I first consider this wonderful phrase, "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". It may be somewhat American in its history but it is a universal human desire.  

A PC or laptop in every pot just doesn't engage me either philosophically or emotionally. I do not believe that the world needs the ability to download movies in order to enjoy life, liberty or happiness. Previously, I noted the value of IP communications and social media in covering the unrest in Iran, the BP oil spill and even the death of Michael Jackson. Moreover, Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure is correct when he says, "Broadband is the next tipping point, the next truly transformational technology. It can generate jobs, drive growth and productivity, and underpin long-term economic competitiveness." Nevertheless, he is wrong to equate the urgent needs of a billion starving people every day and the potential benefits of broadband access.

There are approximately 6.697 billion people in the world today with 3 billion struggling to survive on $2 per day. Please consider that less than one in five people even has a PC.  According to eTForecasts, the worldwide installed PC base is 1.4 billion, which pales in comparison to the number of mobile subscribers at 4.6 billion.

The IP community is growing quickly and that growth will benefit many businesses and people. But, we must demonstrate reason in our priorities and proclamations and note when bureaucrats are being bureaucrats.

 



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