The never-ending luxury versus necessity debate regarding internet access might come to an end soon. When everything shifted online during the pandemic, it clearly showed that everyone needs reliable internet access wherever they are. Unfortunately, there are still households that do not have internet access. Some cannot afford it, and others have no internet services in their area. In contrast, some have limited options in their area, and most of these options are expensive. To check the available providers near you, visit internetnearme.com.
During the lockdown, it has been the primary way of communicating with our families, friends, and workmates. There are also situations where it was the only way to see our loved ones quarantined in the hospitals and other holding facilities. In the worst scenarios, it is our only means of saying goodbye to them. Nevertheless, internet access has always been vital in our daily lives.
Overseas calls are expensive, but it becomes so much easier when we can easily connect to our loved ones via Skype, Messenger, or even Facetime. The internet is also used for researching, booking appointments, buying tickets, and so much more. We even exercise our freedom of speech through the internet, even for political issues. There’s no doubt that it played a massive role in making our lives easier. Sadly, giving every person the right to internet access will not come easy.
The United Kingdom, along with most parts of the world, does not have this right. Ofcom’s Access and Inclusion Report 2018 states that around 10% of British households do not have any internet access. The 9% that pay for the communication services in their homes encountered difficulties paying for these services. Indeed, the pandemic clearly emphasized the utmost need for internet access.
The struggle of subscribing to an internet service
Internet services have always been considered a luxury, until now. There’s no doubt that applying for internet services can be very expensive. Mainly if you belong to the low-income category, it would be impossible to afford it. Most internet service providers are all about your money; even if they cannot provide a decent connection, you will still fully pay for the service.
Fortunately, there are internet providers that help low-income households to afford internet services. The servicereviews.org offers Spectrum Internet services which is one of these providers that offer Internet Assist for unprivileged families. They provide affordable internet plans for families that qualify for Spectrum Internet Assist. It is a massive help for these families, and we have high hopes that significant internet providers do the same.
The significance of reliable internet access during home quarantine
Lockdowns and home quarantine were the highlights of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was implemented to prevent the further spread of the virus, which affected everyone. When the world heavily relied on the internet, internet providers took a big blow from the sudden spike in demand. However, the government is trying to solve the digital divide by providing internet access through local authorities and digital devices for disadvantaged students who cannot attend online classes. Even universities also shifted to online tutoring and classes that put more underprivileged students in a problematic situation.
During the lockdown, the painful truth is only those who have proper internet access can study and work from home. The government addressed the unfortunate situation by telling those who cannot work from home should go back to their work. It means that they ask these people to go to their offices and other workplaces if they don’t have the means to do their work at home—making them more susceptible to COVID-19.
Accessing relevant information during a crisis is crucial to people, and the internet is one of the easiest ways to do so. People also use it to research scientific findings and exchange different views with one another. These things show that the internet is essential, especially during the pandemic. Unfortunately, this has yet to be addressed by those who are in power.
The significance of reliable internet access outside the pandemic
The pandemic brought out the urgency of internet access, but it has been there even before the pandemic began. Those who want to apply for the Universal Credit scheme must have an email address since they are anticipated to apply for it online. Telephone helplines are available for people who cannot afford to go online. Still, the anticipation for online applications makes it hard for people who cannot afford such services.
The United Kingdom Parliament’s online petition process will also not be available for people without any internet access. Unfortunately, even free internet in public libraries has decreased due to funds slashing. We have to consider the persons with disabilities and other conditions that will make it hard for them to connect online, especially if it is their only means of having internet access.
In comparison, people who are unable to provide themselves secure internet connection always have limited opportunities in terms of jobs, political opinions, research, and other relevant activities that can express their free speech. Suppose we were to think about democratic equality that every citizen must have equal opportunities to exercise their political rights. In that case, internet access could be considered a condition for inclusion and equality.
Should internet access be considered a necessity?
Online access is a massive part of our lives. Every day, we go online and surf the web. We use it to study, work, buy stuff, order food, hail a cab and communicate with our loved ones. We use it for the most essential and these insignificant purposes, but it is a different situation for these unprivileged people. No digital divide in any part of the world should be tolerated and accepted, even if you are unaffected by it.
Providing internet access for the significant number of people who do not have access online to help them work, study, and live their lives with a bit of ease is vital, especially during a challenging time like this pandemic. Suppose even the government is profoundly dependent on the internet. In that case, it should just be right to provide its citizens equal opportunity to internet access—as it would affect their participation and opportunities in society. The United Kingdom government should consider internet access as a right for the sake of its people.