Internet access should be a basic right, House of Lords report says

Peers have called for internet to be defined as a public utility, like water, gas and electricity, to guarantee unimpeded access for people across UK and ensure the country maintains a leading digital economy.

Produced by the digital skills committee of the House of Lords, the report written for the incoming government stresses that a robust digital strategy is critical to the country’s future.

The report, called ‘Make or Break: The UK’s Digital Future’, says: “Digital technology is changing all our lives, work, society and politics. It brings with it huge opportunities for the UK, but also significant risks. This demands an ambitious approach which will secure the UK’s position as a digital leader.”

The report calls for the removal of “not-spots” in urban areas and rural areas to be adopted by the new government.

The lack of internet in urban areas poses a serious concern for the growth of business and international competitiveness. London has been ranked 26th among European cities for broadband speeds, with internet services three times slower than Paris and Bucharest.

However, some have warned that making a basic level of internet a universal right could limit investment in infrastructure by companies seeking to create more premium services.

As well as enhanced internet access, the report made several recommendations to improve the UK’s digital economy. Digital education in school, further education and professional qualifications need to be bolstered, as well as a general awareness of online safety, the report said.

The House of Lords digital skills committee is chaired by Baroness Morgan of Huyton, who is a former chair of Ofsted.

DTG Staff  |  18.02.2015

Previous story  |  Next story