Since the United Nations has declared that “Internet access is a human right,” it’s hard to imagine how Cambodia, a country of low Internet penetration, will provide greater access to people across the country.
In a previous blog post, I pointed out a UN report that calls for “greater Internet freedoms” and declares that “Internet access is a human right.” Provided that Cambodia has this strong mobile network infrastructure, connecting Cambodians to the Internet via mobile devices means to foster rights to information as well as Net access.
Mobile subscribers could potentially be Internet users. The mobile technology is arguably the strategic means of increasing the number of Net users.
Norbert Klein, a veteran known for introducing e-mail communication system to Cambodia in the early 1990s, told me via Facebook chat that, “in many countries with a weak infrastructure the number of mobile phones is much much higher than internet users”.
There are nine mobile network service providers that serve more than half of Cambodia’s 14 million people, according to a recent report from the BBC. However, Cambodia could see a significant boost in the next few years, thanks in part to easy-to-connect technology like mobile Internet and more content in Khmer language. Like any other country, Cambodia’s demand to consume content like news, information and entertainment creates a necessity for people to go online.
A report by ITU, a United Nations agency that specializes in Information and Communication Technologies, found that
“Cambodia is a textbook example of wireless boosting telecommunication development. It was the first country in the world where mobile telephone subscribers overtook fixed ones back in 1993. Cambodia began the millennium with more than four out of five telephone subscribers using a wireless phone, the highest ratio in the world.”
“When the ISPs provide high speed access at lower prices – then an expensive computer is not necessary,” added Klein, who regularly comments on Internet and freedom of expression on his blog at http://www.thinking21.org/.