Do national governments carry the onus to provide universal broadband connectivity to its people? Or should we allow capitalism to take its course, and have industry figure out the most cost-efficient ways to connect the unconnected? At a technology seminar hosted by STS Global on Aug. 15, panelists sparred over whether it is the government’s fiduciary — and perhaps moral — duty to ensure all of its citizens have access to the internet.

Steve Yablonksi, Chief Technical Officer (CTO) at STS Global, put forth an argument that he admitted is somewhat “socialist.” According to Yablonski, a capitalist society will inherently develop technologies to only reach the people who can pay for service. From there, the service will “creep from the top down” and perhaps eventually cover the entire population — or it might not, and leave pockets of unserved or underserved communities. If a government really wants to offer the same service to everyone, he said, it will have to be subsidized.

SSPI Director of Development Lou Zacharilla served as moderator for this lively panel. Read more about the discussion at satellitetoday.com.