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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Yucatán’s congress declares high-speed Internet access a human right

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Internet use is ubiquitous in much of Yucatán but is still unavailable in several rural communities. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Yucatán’s congress has passed a bill making Internet access a human right

The new law, which requires a rewriting of the state’s constitution, was passed unanimously.

The legislation calls not only for universal Internet access but also high bandwidth, typically defined as download speeds of at least 25 megabytes per second.  

In international law, the right to Internet access is the view that all people must be able to access the Internet to exercise and enjoy their rights to freedom of expression and opinion.

Assuring that everyone in Yucatán has high-speed Internet access is a lofty goal, given that large rural areas of the state are still without even basic cell phone coverage. 

“Now it is time to set up the infrastructure to make this policy a reality. This will not be easy but it is doable,” said Karla Franco, the PRI lawmaker who sponsored the motion. 

Earlier: Starlink: A ‘game-changer’ for a connected life in rural Mexico?

Details regarding the specifics of the types of technologies that will be deployed have not been announced, but will likely require close cooperation with several telecommunication firms. 

The importance of Internet access in Yucatán has grown considerably since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, due to a newly-found reliance on telecommuting and online education. 

Even some parts of the Municipality of Mérida, such as Dzoyaxché, are still without even cellphone coverage. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

The passing of the new law closely coincided with a series of bilateral meetings between Yucatán Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal and US Ambassador, Ken Salazar on the topic of bringing greater technological connectivity to the region. 

The new law is scheduled to come into effect by December 2022 and gives the state no wiggle room when it comes to implementation.

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