Do Mexicans have the right to Internet access?

Pattern of internet access, 2013. Data: INEGI. Credit: Geo-Mexico

The Internet has been widely used in the last three decades but its astounding expansion and evolution have turned it into an essential communication and entertainment tool, which also spreads knowledge and information and provides access to several services that make everyday life easier.

In Mexico, the right to internet access was included in the Constitution in 2013. Six years later but it has been impossible to provide full coverage throughout the country, although it has been increasing year after year. According to the INEGI, in 2018, there would be over 74.3 million of internet users over 6 years old, which is 65.8% of the population. Three years before, in 2015, the percentage was 57.4%. The rate is still far from the numbers registered in countries such as Korea, the United Kingdom, Germany, or Sweden, where over 90% of the population has internet access.

Currently, Mexicans have fewer options to obtain internet access than in 2018 since half of the 101,000 public places that should offer free internet access have stopped providing it. The reason? Internet contracts have expired. On Monday, President López Obrador announced that the contracts are being examined because they were too expensive. The President asked people to be patient.

Similar to the delay in the supply of medicines to public hospitals, diseases and knowledge won’t slow down. It is undeniable that abusive contracts cant not be tolerated, if that was the case, and that they have to be eradicated but the government has to find a way not to affect users.

From the 47,000 public places that stopped providing internet access since May, 26,000 are educational institutions. Libraries and government offices were affected as well. Halting internet access could imply hindering development opportunities and could have a negative impact on students with limited resources.

The current administration pledged to expand internet access to rural communities through a state-owned internet company. Therefore, it created a company last week, CFE Telecommunications and Internet for Everyone, but it will take some time before the company provides its services. The plan should be more ambitious. The aim should not be limited to provide internet access to marginalized communities, but also to create a strategy that has a positive impact on the development of rural communities.

While the new internet plan is implemented, Mexico can not allow the lack of connectivity in education institutions. The price could be really high.

The Yucatan Times Newsroom with information from El Universal



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