Sustainable Development Goal 18 : Basic Access To Internet Services

The sustainable development goals adopted by the United Nations, planned to be achieved by 2030 are a set of 18 ambitious, descriptive goals which aim to make the world a better place to live. Even though these 18 goals cover the major part of human ambitions, there is one goal which I believe is lacking, and needs to be adopted. Here, I have drafted the goals, indicators and inter-linkages of the goal in the format adopted by the United Nations.

Goal 18 : Basic Access to Internet services

Many still cling to the claim that Internet access is still a luxury and not a necessity, but the inherent problem with this contention is that we have an established body of international law that represents the aspirations of humanity for each human being in realizing their inherent dignity and autonomy. States are obligated under this body of law to enact domestic laws or policies to realize those rights, but people, societies, and cultures change. Regimes and systems of governance change. And faster than anything else, technologies change and science produces even greater knowledge of the truth. And that means that policies and interpretation of what human rights guarantee must also change. Essentially, denying access to Internet access, is equivalent to curbing the right to freedom of speech and expression. Thus, it becomes more essential than ever to include this goal to existing SDGs, to create a more just, safe and developed society.

Goals

18.1 Drafting nation specific net neutrality laws 

18.2 Not allowing ISPs to operate unless they comply with net neutrality laws

18.3 Embracing technologies such as Li-Fi instead of solely relying on Wi-Fi and wired technologies

18.4 Encouraging government-backed ISPs to provide access at a reasonably low cost (base fare at an equivalent of 15 USD or less, which roughly corresponds to 0.5% of the median world per-capita income)

18.5 Promoting healthy competition among private ISPs to drive down cost to consumers and increasing accessibility

Indicators

18.1.1 Distinct legislations for each nation-state

18.2.1 Thorough checking before granting license to new ISPs and an exhaustive analysis existing ISPs

18.3.1 At least 20% of all internet activities be conducted via technologies other than Wi-Fi and ethernet

18.4.1 Average cost of basic Internet access must be reduced to at least USD 20 (from the present USD 50)

18.5.1 Fixed Internet broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, by speed

Abbreviations used :

ISPs – Internet Service Providers

USD – United States Dollars

Wi-Fi – Wireless Fidelity

Li-Fi – Light Fidelity

INTER-LINKAGES

This goal is closely-linked to goals 4,8,9 and 11. More and more education is being imparted online, through innovative means, therefore, it becomes imperative that a reliable Internet connection be available to all students, to aid their education. Goal 8, which corresponds to “Decent work and Economic Growth” is essentially incomplete without access to the Internet. With more and more jobs directly or indirectly linked to and dependent on a reliable Internet connection, economic growth will stagnate if the reach of the Internet is not increased. Similarly justified for goal 9. With new technologies, it is imperative that new constructions comply with and have provisions for these new technologies to easily integrate later on. Thus, while moving towards more and more smart and sustainable cities, these provisions must be provided.

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