Recognising connectivity as a human right

 

Just because a sentence is uttered by Mark Zuckerberg, does not mean it’s true, but when the Founder of Facebook spoke of connectivity being a basic human right, he wasn’t far off the mark.

Zuckerberg, in his 10 page argument for the acceptance of connectivity as a human right, refers almost exclusively to bringing the internet to the 5 billion people in the world without access to data services.

This is a fine ideal, but one that doesn’t appear to take into account the uncomfortable reality of the situation. Before we even look at data connectivity, consider mobile telephony. While mobile services have become more and more accessible, they haven’t necessarily become more affordable for consumers, or profitable for mobile operators. This means that despite the range of mobile plans and tariff options available, for many, mobile connectivity is close to impossible.

This may be because, for some, their income simply doesn’t allow for them to invest in a reliable mobile plan. But in more remote and sparsely populated areas, even the most well-off within a community find themselves unable to even ring up a neighbour. Why? Often because their location is too remote, and population too scarce for a telecom operator to justify the costs of setting up and maintaining mobile towers in the area.

This means we have 1.5 billion people in the world without access to the education, emergency services, and professional growth that a communication network provides.

While it’s great that we’re at that stage of human advancement where we can dream about a world where everyone has free, unrestricted internet access, we have also to accept the fact that our current mobile telephony system is less than perfect.

However, this is a resolvable situation. The capacity to set up personal mobile networks even in the absence of dedicated telecom operators in these areas does exist. Through the support of the government, community leaders and influencers and the concentrated allocation of radio spectrum across communities, we can make the world a global, connected hub.

Personal GSM solutions, like the ones we specialise in, are a range of products that allow anyone to set up and run a personal mobile network, no matter where they are. These products offer an easy to install, portable, and eco-friendly solution to the problem of mobile connectivity in rural regions. It’s a sustainable, low-maintenance option which we’ve already seen put to use connecting rural communities in India and in Mexico.

Image credit: Jack Says Relax