Kudos to the Finnish government, which has just introduced laws guaranteeing broadband access to every person living in Finland (5.5 million people, give or take).

This is reportedly a first worldwide.

Starting July 2010, every person in Finland will have the right to a one-megabit broadband connection as an intermediate step, says the Ministry of Transport and Communications. By the end of 2015, the legal right will be extended to an impressive 100 Mb broadband connection for everyone.


Found by QB.

  1. chuck says:

    Does the “right” to broadband also include the “right” not to have broadband.

    In other words, if a person doesn’t own a computer and has no interest in the internet, can they choose to opt-out and NOT pay the additional taxes required for the service.

    Note: this is a little different than health care. Health care can involve life and death. We’re talking about the internet. Do we also need a bill of rights guaranteeing cable TV (what about satellite?) or free pron?

    (Okay we don’t need a “right” to free pron, since you get that automatically with the internet.)

  2. B.Dog says:

    I seem to remember something about how the U.S. government gave the telcos billions of dollars a decade ago so that we would have the same thing in the U.S. The telcos just pocketed the money.

  3. Finn says:

    I live in Finland so here are some facts:

    The broadband access is NOT paid by government so the taxes don’t go up because of this.
    ISP’s are just required to make it possible for anyone with a street address to be able to buy broadband access with decent cost. Until now we had right for 56k modem. Oh and by the way, TV is a right in Finland. Altough we need to pay 200$ per year for that if we own a TV.

  4. Angel H. Wong says:

    That will never happen in the USA because ISPs will poopoo the proposal with the excuse that the country is too big to connect everyone.

  5. Neumann says:

    “Finland Finland Finland… that’s the country for me!
    Finland is the country where we dance… Finland is the country where we play… Here a Finland boy and girl can find a new romance, in traditional Scandanavian wayy…”

    Really? How could ANY hard core geek not be singing the Fish Schlapping Song right about now? That’s pretty awesome.

  6. sargasso says:

    Much better than New Zealand. We’re struggling with 256kbit down over most of the country, an urban data-only 15GB cap 18Mbit/sec ADSL2+ plan costs us $US56 a month. And they throttle back on peer-to-peer, and call it a “service”.

  7. Apoleon says:

    One more comment. This program does not even promise 100M to users’ homes, but 2 kilometers (about 1,3 miles) from their home. The rest will be paid by the actual customer. Fiber optic cable for this 1,3 miles can cost up to 14,000 euros (about 20,000 USD). Guess how many will take it? So, we’ll have a lot of mostly unused fiber optic cables all over the country.

    One thing I forgot. Part of the expenses will be paid by the government, and a part by the county/city. In some small counties this cost can be up to 800 euros (1,200 USD) per capita, paid from taxes, which are of course paid by the residents.

    Don’t you love this free Internet program?

  8. qb says:

    I love the twisting of the concept of rights by so many here. Again, there are different types of rights and responsibilities, but that’s a whole different conversation.

    Look at this way, under a UN convention (yes I know you hate the UN but never mind) many countries have signed on to a human rights package including access to clean water.

    That means I should be able to get clean water from a service provider like my local utility. If I choose to drink from a well, so be it. If I choose to drink something foul instead, so be it. But if I want clean water, I can get it at a price that is fair and equitable (e.g. the same rate that everyone else pays).

  9. A Finn says:

    No, it won’t be free. Finland is a long country and a large portion of the population lives in the south around the capital area. If such a law would not be passed there would be hundreds of thousands of people who would not get a chance to sign up for a decent internet connection because the providers would not extend the coverage far enough to the north.

    #40 – I disagree with you. If Finland in general would function as you stated then a large portion of the country would be totally empty (even more than today) plus it would cause tens of other issues that I care not list.

  10. amodedoma says:

    #25 My BAD, you’re right. Bastian started out with how Europe owed the US for their safety during the cold war and I was popping a vein. Should’ve given the Fins much more credit. They managed to be right on the frontier of the USSR but stayed on this side of the iron curtain. An amazing feat of diplomatic skill. Or something else equally amazing.

  11. Father says:

    You are a moron if you think you have any rights what so ever.

    If someone stood before you, about to shoot you in the head, do you think the arguement that “I have human rights” would sway his actions?

    I have life experiences to back up my position.

  12. qb says:

    #46 Yup, that happened to me this morning when I used my broadband.

  13. Apoleon says:

    #44 if it were so that the country would be empty (I don’t think so, but let’s assume so), so be it. The option is to steal money from the cities at the point of gun to allow the others live where they want. Obviously they don’t what much want to live there because they are unwilling to pay the expenses of their living.

    I have really tough time understanding and even bigger problem accepting that people in the cities must pay for the living of people in the countryside. How is it the fault of the cities, and why must they pay for the decisions of people in the countryside?

    Why doesn’t the countryside support living in the cities as living there is much more expensive? Of course it newer goes that way. The is no moral, no logic, absolutely no common denominator here except that the forced flow of money from the cities to areas which are obviously unhabitable. And some people refuse to see the moral and economic problems because they are on the receiving side.

    You can live anywhere you wish. But you must also pay for the expenses of your decisions. Except now you don’t – you can live anywhere you want, and make the others pay at the point of a gun.

  14. Someone says:


    So, if I have a right to broadband, then it follows that the last broadband company standing absolutely can not be allowed to fail….


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