Broadband 'now a human right' header image

Published: 15th Oct 2014

We all know that broadband has become massively important to everyday life. However, it has now been suggested that having a decent level of internet access is a human right. 

This opinion has been put forward by the Broadband 100 group, a new coalition that comprises some of the leading players in the global telecoms, media and technology industries. 

The organisation, which counts the likes of Orange and Deutsche Telekom among its members, discussed the importance of internet access at a Broadband World Forum event in Amsterdam earlier this month.

James McGough, director at the Broadband World Forum and a founding member of the Broadband 100, stated: "There are some fairly consistent views being voiced by our members: the group generally agrees that access to broadband is now a human right, but that the cost of delivering this poses problems.

"The majority of group members believe that the required investment must come from all stakeholders operators, governments, users and manufacturers."

Mr McGough said the responsibility of ensuring global access to broadband is "too great" to fall on a single entity, meaning all of the interested parties need to work together.

According to, a survey of the Broadband 100's members found close to three-quarters think broadband is 'absolutely' a human right. However, one in five said this is only true if people "can afford it".

When asked who should fund universal broadband access, 40 per cent of members said it ought to be paid for by a combination of operators, governments, users and over-the-top service providers such as Netflix.

Close to a quarter of respondents claimed customers alone should foot the bill, 16.3 per cent said it needs to be the sole responsibility of governments and 18.4 per cent stated over-the-top providers should come up with the funding.

The concept of broadband as a human right is not entirely new, as in 2010 Finland made having access to the web a legal right.