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Six Countries that Believe Access to the Internet is a Basic Human Right

May 2, 2016 Fast Facts

Six Countries that Believe Access to the Internet is a Basic Human Right


Is access to the Internet a Basic Human Right?

Some countries have already decided that it is.

Muft Internet is a Knowledge and Research Organization that has researched Internet Access around the world. They report that “several countries have adopted laws that require the state to work to ensure that Internet access is broadly available and/or preventing the state from unreasonably restricting an individual’s access to information and the Internet.”

Those countries are: 

  1. Costa Rica‘s Supreme Court has ruled that access to information technology and communication is a basic tool to facilitate participation in society and access to public services. Citizens have “the fundamental right of access to these technologies, in particular, the right of access to the Internet or World Wide Web."
  2. Estonia began a program in 2000 to expand internet access to the countryside by declaring access a basic human right. The Internet, the government argues, is essential for life in the 21st century.
  3. Finland decided that every person was to have access to a one-megabit per second broadband connection by 2010. By 2015 everyone would have access to a 100 Mbit/s connection.
  4. France’s, highest court, declared access to the Internet to be a basic human right.
  5. Greece’s Constitution (Article 5A) states that all everyone has a right to participate in the Information Society. The state must “facilitate the production, exchange, diffusion, and access to electronically transmitted information.”
  6. Spain decided that Telefónica, the former state monopoly that holds the country’s "universal service" contract, had to guarantee to offer "reasonably" priced broadband of at least one megabit per second throughout the country."


In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has just finished holding hearings that reviewed basic telecommunications services. You can find out what was said at the CRTC hearings at

Jean-Pierre Blais, the CRTC Chair, has suggested that the Country needs a “coherent national broadband strategy.” Based on presentations from representatives from anti-poverty groups and others it is clear that broadband is “vital” to Canadians, Blais said.

We hope that the proposed strategy will build in a human rights approach as other countries have.



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