Thursday, October 15, 2009

Finland Makes Internet Access a Right

According to a YLE story, Finland has made high-speed Internet access a legal right: “Starting next July, every person in Finland will have the right to a one-megabit broadband connection, says the Ministry of Transport and Communications.” The country hopes to bump up the speed to 100 Mb/s five years later.

This kind of blanket rule makes planning simpler. If everyone will be getting Internet access, it takes away the need to decide who can and can’t get it. There is still the question of how to deliver Internet access to every town, but that shouldn’t be too complicated in a country where more than half of households already have high-speed Internet.

France had, earlier this year, made Internet access a right, but Finland is the first country to adopt a rule making broadband access a right. The Internet is especially important in Finland because of its high latitude. During the very short winter days, there isn’t so much time for outdoor activities, but the extended evenings allow plenty of time to go online. The new rule, which will be in effect next winter, won’t make the winter nights any shorter, but at least Finns will be able to spend those long nights at high speed.