When Federal Communications Commission member Michael O’Rielly argued last month that “Internet access is not a necessity or human right,” fellow commissioner Mignon Clyburn took notice.
In a speech at a policy conference yesterday (see transcript), she listed numerous reasons why Internet access really is necessary in the modern age:

Not a necessity… during a time when the majority of Fortune 500 companies post new job listings strictly on websites? And where if you are fortunate enough to secure a position, your new boss expects you to have an e-mail address?
Not a necessity… where, in a growing number of states, those who are income-eligible can only apply for benefits or aid online?
Not a necessity… when most colleges and universities post and accept student admissions electronically?
Not a necessity… as the evidence grows daily, on how technology is bridging long-standing gaps when it comes to the delivery, quality of service, and cost efficiencies for access to health care and wellness?
And when you make that face-to-face appointment or conduct business in person, when was the last time you bought or referred to a folded map when you traveled to that destination?

This could be seen as just a debate over semantics. O’Rielly doesn’t argue that Internet access is unimportant, rather he says the word “‘necessity’ should be reserved to those items that humans cannot live without, such as food, shelter, and water.”
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