April 13, 2016

Is internet access a human right? PLUS LEAP, gun laws & more

Brian LilleyArchive

Is internet access a basic human right? Is it up there with freedom of speech or association, freedom of religion? Of course not but that won't stop some.

Brian explains his position and speaks to Matt Bufton of the Institute for Liberal Studies.

Also on the show, Brian chats with Rick Smith of the Broadbent Institute about what is happening on the left, Anthony Furey on Liberals backing LEAP, Gary Dimmock on crime, justice and death and the jail.

Finally Brian checks in with Tony Bernardo of the Canadian Shooting Sports Associations on crazy gun plans by some police.

That and your calls and emails.

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commented 2016-04-14 14:19:16 -0400
The crux of the issue is this question: Should human necessities be considered human rights.
If you say yes, then what constitutes a “necessity”?
Is it a matter of staying alive? Of being able to be “self-determined”? Or be able to survive and keep up with the Joneses?

Moreover, what is the government’s role in providing this right?
Is it a requirement to ensure access (which you could probably twist my arm to agree with)?
Or is it a requirement to provide the service to everyone in the country?

Moreover, what is the individual’s responsibility in this? If it is a right, and it is provided, then you’ve effectively cut out any future entry into that market. Think of food – if the government were providing everyone with food, then what would happen to the supermarkets? They’d be pointless relics of the free market. There might be a few specialty food stores that survived, or sprung up, but the industry itself would be largely destroyed.

Lastly, “rights” tend to remove the desire of the “providers” to serve. They now have an ingrained, exclusive role with which they must comply. It is no longer about serving their customers and innovating to serve them better, it is “what is my budget, what is my mandate, and what am I by law required to do?”

If you want to mandate internet access for everyone you have 3 choices:
1) Government run monopoly
2) Government dictating service but not price
3) Government dictating price but nor service

You could do any number of back flips to try and get around these options (subsidies, infrastructure spending, etc.), but ultimately they end in the same thing as the first option: The government forcing us to pay for the desires of others.
commented 2016-04-14 12:19:15 -0400
The people that are advocating the government regulate the price of Internet means that they will force out a lot of rural Internet service providers because it is VERY expensive to provide Internet to rural areas.

How do I know?

I worked for a rural Internet service provide and was privy to the costs. Now that is as detailed as I can go on costs because of a contract I signed with them, but be well aware that if the government forces a lower price for higher speed (i.e. 25 Mbps for $10/month), the costs would simply mean that the businesses providing Internet to the rural areas would have to shut down.

It is as simple as that.

That means the government would have to purchase and run or subsidize the rural Internet service providers, and we all know just how perfect the government operated businesses are. Government cannot run businesses efficiently.
commented 2016-04-14 10:28:38 -0400
Brian Lilley – Just a correction, a mistake many people make. You said, 25 megabyte per second, but it is actually megaBIT per second. Just nitpicking.
commented 2016-04-14 10:24:48 -0400
Well, I can’t say that Internet access is a human right, but it certainly is a necessity not a luxury, at least in my life in any case. It is as necessary as electricity and heating.
commented 2016-04-13 11:10:34 -0400
wow…how did we make it this far without internet? internet got us to the moon…oh no…wait…no it didn’t. and we haven’t made it any farther since unless you count sending an anal probe with a camera to mars. and that uses satellite , not internet. they still need an antenna to do that.
commented 2016-04-13 01:42:14 -0400
Hey, library cards are free and they allow you access to computers and internet for free! Another question… if people can’t afford the Internet, do they have TV service? I gave up my TV service to afford my internet service.
commented 2016-04-13 01:35:39 -0400
I would put Internet access more along the lines of education. It is next to impossible to survive, let alone thrive in the modern world without an education and it is becoming so with Internet access. I wouldn’t call it a right or freedom like those expressed in the Charter. There are however many services that Canadians get which are not expressed in the Charter.

We all, as youth, are provided an education (charter only states the language rights w.r.t. receiving that education). We all get health care. We all get access to public lands, although that seems to be getting less and less every year.