Tim Berners-Lee calls for Free Internet Everywhere

Mike Halsey MVP
Sep 15, 2010
Updated • Dec 4, 2012

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, has used a speech at a Nokia conference in London to call for everybody worldwide to get free Internet access and at least a low bandwidth connection "by default", as reported by the BBC.

In his call for free Internet access he highlighted the fact that just 20% of the world's population currently has access to the web, and said that free unfettered access could be instrumental in giving people access to critical services such as healthcare.

"I would like to see people enrolled in a cheap data plan by default. I would like them to get it for free"  Sir Tim said during his speech.  "What about these people who have a signal but are not part of the web, who are not part of the information society?"

He went on to say that people could  "create their own communities and share their own information" and suggested that network operators could indeed provide free connections on the basis that as people became more affluent, they would be prepared to pay for faster connections.

Dr Hamadoun Toure, the head of the UN's International telecommunications Union, the United Nations body that oversees international telecoms, agrees with him.  In a recent interview with the BBC he said that free access to information should be a "universal Human right".

Sir Tim also spoke about net privacy and neutrality, addressing concerns raised over the recent move by Google and others to create a "two-tier" Internet.

"We assume that when you look up a [web page], that you can get any page because that is the way it has always been and that is why the web has flourished.  Of course a lot of companies would like to limit the pages you get."  For example, he said, a firm that sells streaming movies may "like to slow down access to other people's movies".

Sir Tim has enormous influence and is a person that world leaders will listen to.  How successful his calls for a more open and accessible Internet are remains to be seen.


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  1. Anonymous said on October 22, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    eu ja vi a comfiguraçao mais nao tem nada aver com configuraçao do meu

  2. Anonymous said on October 22, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    queria que alguem coloca-se internet gratis no samsung gt-s3650

  3. kalmly said on September 16, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    The essentials of life have never been free or come under the heading of “rights”. Free food. Free housing. Free electricity, anyone? How about a telephone? Remember those? A communication device that enables one to dial 911. Never thought about it being my “right” to own one back in the days when I couldn’t afford phone service. Now somebody wants to make internet access a “universal Human right”. I think “somebody” might benefit from an adjustment to his priorities.

    Not that I’m against free internet access :)

    1. rvdmast said on September 16, 2010 at 10:21 pm

      also, mr. Berners-Lee did not say ALL internet connections should be free, but: “Tim Berners-Lee said that he would like to see everybody given a low-bandwidth connection “by default”.”
      And: “He suggested that network providers could offer the free connections on the basis that people would become more affluent in the future and would then be wiling to pay for more expensive, higher-bandwidth mobile services.

      “They will move up when they can,” he said.”

    2. rvdmast said on September 16, 2010 at 10:15 pm

      I’m not against free internet, but i don’t mind paying for it. However i do think my internet access should not be cut off by the governement forever just because, for instance, i violated the music industry’s IP rights.
      It’s like food and water; you have a constitutional right to food and water, but you still have to pay for it.
      In my country water company’s cannot cut off your water even if you never pay the bill, they can at most limit your water to certain hours of the day.

  4. rvdmast said on September 16, 2010 at 7:41 am

    even more important than being free, internet access should be a constitutional right, that cannot be taken away by governement institutions or industrial bodies (think of HADOPI ).
    Like water, food, education, internet access should be considered a human right and as such, be protected by (international) laws.

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