Why Internet Must be a Commodity and not a Right

As the world becomes ever connected, our reliance on Internet increases more and more. This has led to the Internet becoming necessary for greater aspects of life as companies and official entities take advantage of individual Internet access. With this in mind, some have begun to advocate treating Internet access as a right instead of a commodity, with access ensured for all as opposed to treating it as a commodity sold by corporations. Though, in the coming years, we will wince at our Internet bills, turning Internet access into a right is a terrible idea.

Proclaiming Internet access to be a right will not make Internet free. The cost will go from individual Internet bills to taxes, in larger or smaller amounts depending on the extent by which Internet is transferred to government control. Average citizens could end up with a higher tax bill and with the same regular Internet bill as before. This should be the first thing weighed against possible societal benefit.

The second main issue is the distortion to the market of Internet provision that would be created. Internet providers could be forced to provide Internet to areas that are not economically feasible to reach or be forced to provide service for those who are unable to pay, with costs either going to citizens financially or by reduced service. If the government takes wholesale control of providing Internet, we would face the fundamental reshaping of a large portion of the economy. This would produce variable amounts of societal turmoil and it could also hinder job prospects for a decent percentage of MSU graduates, interfering with our best interests. Even in the best case scenario of transition to government control, establishing the government as the singular provider with zero hope for competition will make notorious Internet provider monopolistic policies worse, not better.

This may be an insignificant issue within the decade, as Facebook and Google are currently working on their own initiatives to greatly expand Internet access. They have made the distinction that their services offered through the internet are valuable enough to the companies that the cost of the Internet providing technologies can be overcome by the potential profit. It is important to note that companies were able to come to this conclusion on their own, by the desire for more profit. This cycle occurs with many technologies as time provides ways to produce the once exotic in a cheap way, and this time around will soon eliminate any need to consider Internet as a right.