Is Connectivity a Human Right?

By    September 25, 2013

Cambium Networks’ answer to this question is a resounding yes. But we’d like to take it one step further and state that reliable, high-quality and affordable connectivity is a human right. In order for all of the world’s 7.1 billion citizens to participate in our globalized society, the very definition of “Internet access” must encompass broadband-enabled applications for video, data and VoIP services.

As a veteran in the wireless broadband space, we’re thrilled that our point of view was echoed in “The State of Broadband 2013: Universalizing Broadband,” a recently released report from the UN Broadband Commission.  It states: “Today, low-speed connectivity and Short Message Service (SMS) systems are improving development work, but even more could be achieved with broadband connectivity, partly due to higher throughput and new services, but also due to improvements in existing education and health systems. Broadband connectivity is not a panacea, but when integrated with existing systems, it can facilitate new services and deliver effective results for achieving the MDGs.”

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were set in 2000 and there are 828 days left to meet them. We’re anxious to hear what world leaders have to report this week and next during the 68th United Nations General Assembly, especially as forecasts are currently grim on hitting the target of 60% Internet penetration worldwide by 2015, a corollary to meeting MDG #8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development. According to the Broadband Commission, at current rates we’ll hit just 45%, leaving 3.96 billion without Internet connectivity.

This is a sobering outlook for a world that relies increasingly on the Internet for all types of communication. The connections Cambium Networks have enabled link country-wide school systems in Papua New Guinea and Macedonia; provide the Nigerian town of Ayangba with its sole lifeline to the outside world; and have restored communications in Hungary after this summer’s floods. These are just four of the 150 countries Cambium Networks’ hardware is currently deployed in, and we are proud of the progress we’ve made in connecting the unconnected.

Yet we can’t help but be struck by the statistics above. So what are we doing about this? You’ll find out in just two weeks. In the meantime, send us your stories of connectivity and tell us of a time you were truly thankful for Internet access.