The New Entitlement: “Universal Internet Access”


Forget a defacto entitlement for contraception. The new hotness is universal internet access.

Because we can’t just expect people do pay to download their own porn.

( – U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says the federal government “will do all we can” to support the use of technology in education because technology “can even the playing field” for low-income, minority and rural students who don’t have laptops and i-phones at home.

“The future of American education undoubtedly includes a laptop on every desk and universal Internet access in every home. It definitely includes more on-line learning,” Duncan told a conference in Austin, Texas, last week.

Education in the U.S. is a state and local responsibility, but “[i]nsuring educational equity is at the heart of the federal role in education,” Duncan said. “It opens doors for all students as long as we make sure that the students most in need have access.”

So, under the guise of improving education, the federal government is aiming at creating a universal entitlement for the internet. Because apparently our country isn’t broke enough without adding to the taxpayers’ pile of obligations.

And there are some real risks here. As we’re learning with health care, when the government takes control over providing access for something (be it health insurance or internet access) they also take control over what is offered. Under the auspices of Obamacare, the federal government can decide what sort of health insurance policies you can buy and what those policies will and will not cover.

Is it really so far-fetched to think that, in a situation with government-backed universal internet access, the government will also start deciding how fast that internet will go and what we can access through it?

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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