Dear Telecommunications Industry CEOs,
The world has been fundamentally changed by the coronavirus outbreak.
One thing which has become evident during these troubling times is the absolute necessity of internet connectivity.
To adhere to social distancing an accessible and reliable internet connection is required to keep informed of guidance on how to stay safe, access public services, receive and spend money, communicate with family and friends, meet new people, care for the elderly, access mental health care, learn, collaborate, work, entertain and play.
The internet is our lifeline for social existence. But it is not open and freely accessible.
- Front-line workers carrying out essential services on low-incomes struggle to afford high speed connections
- Rural communities live with the failure to develop broadband infrastructure and are forced to pay high tariffs for working and schooling at home
- People in homeless accommodation are denied WiFi access
- Asylum seekers are deprived the means to communicate with their loved ones in these worrying times
Internet access should be a fundamental human right, not a privilege based on income. With your support, we can make it happen.
While medium term action is required to develop infrastructure to secure ultra-fast connectivity, immediate measures can be introduced by you to open up connectivity today.
During the Covid-19 pandemic time we all need to put our shoulder to the wheel and make available what resources we have to ensure that, together, we overcome this crisis and build infrastructure, public services and communities which are prepared to face future challenges.
We add our voices to those calling on you, as industry leaders, to work swiftly with Dáil Éireann and the Northern Ireland Executive to immediately open up all hotspots cost-free and to waive the prohibitive charges for households who are unable to access decent broadband connection.
We respectfully request a considered response via your social media and/or the news sections of your websites by Thursday 30th April at 12pm.
(See original letter and list of signatories in full here)