UK House of Lords Calls For Classifying Internet As “Public Utility”
A report published by House of Lords has recommended that Internet should be reclassified as public utility.
A select Committee on Digital Skills was tasked with investigating the growth of ICT industry in UK by the upper house of country’s parliament. The findings were published in the report titled “Make or Break, The UK’s Digital Future.”
The report highlights the importance of Internet in daily life, and argues that it should be defined as a utility service, and that it should be available for all to access.
“Digital skills (the skills needed to interact with digital technologies) are now necessary life skills,” it reads. “Individuals and businesses alike will need skills to protect themselves online. It is not acceptable for any group to be excluded from access to digital technologies. We must aspire for the vast majority of the population to achieve the level of digital literacy needed to fully participate in society.”
Furthermore, the report states that Internet coverage in UK is not up to the mark, which is affecting UK’s international competitiveness.
“We are concerned about the pace of universal internet coverage and the delivery of superfast broadband. In particular, we find it unacceptable that, despite Government efforts, there are still urban areas experiencing internet ‘not-spots’,” mentioned in the report.
It is not explained in the report what legal changes would need to be brought in order to reclassify internet. The House of Lords, however, has given prime example of Estonia, the Eastern European nation, which listed online access as “an undivided part of human rights” in 2000.
The report has covered extensive areas related to internet such as cybersecurity. It is suggested that awareness level about cybersecurity in UK is inadequate, stressing the need to launch awareness campaigns, if internet is to be made accessible to all.
In addition to all these facts, the report also argues that number of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is alarmingly low and it is holding back UK’s competitiveness. To solve this remedy, it is suggested that girls be engaged earlier and across all educational levels.
“We agree with our witnesses that increasing the numbers of women could reap significant benefits,” suggested in the report.