On October 7, the Education Commission of the Latin American and Caribbean Parliament (Parlatino in Spanish) approved the model bill on the digital divide in education and internet access as a human right. The bill will be forwarded to the Board of Directors of the organization for its evaluation.
The initiative had been presented in 2020 by Argentine Senator Alfredo Luenzo. It should be noted that Luenzo is also working on this issue at the local level, as he is participating in the debate that is taking place in the Argentinean Senate for the treatment of the bills that seek to declare ICTs as a public service.
The model bill seeks to create the legal and institutional conditions to eliminate the digital divide, mainly in the field of education, and to declare Internet access a human right. In this sense, the initiative promotes the expansion of broadband services and establishes measures to broaden access to the Internet, information and communication technologies and content related to education and health. The regulation may become a model law, and in this sense, it may lead other congresses in the region to replicate similar legislation, with the intention of achieving regulatory harmonization at regional level.
During the debate in the Commission, Luenzo argued that “Internet cannot remain within the framework of a business model since it has a central role in guaranteeing fundamental rights” and expressed the importance of “advancing in a public policy at regional level” to guarantee society a minimum and universal connectivity.
The approved model bill will be submitted to the technical team of Parlatino to be later forwarded to the Board of Directors of the organization who will evaluate the initiative in order to approve it, reject it or send it back to the commissions with their arguments.