Finland Makes 1Mbps Internet A "Basic Right" For Every Citizen

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News Posted: Sat, Jul 3 2010 1:29 AM
You may assume that you have no real reason to thank Finland today, but you do. If you're an avid Internet user, you owe the first nation to make broadband service a basic right a great deal of gratitude, because without them being first, there's no telling how long it would've taken for some other country to finally pull the trigger. That's right: while America tries to figure out how to get broadband into rural areas, Finland is moving forward with a far bolder plan that involves giving broadband access to every single citizen.


Obviously, this is a huge undertaking, and it'll involve a great deal of spending in order to make it a reality. The move makes Finland the first nation on the planet to make broadband Internet access a basic right, with the idea being to at least make broadband available to every Finn that would like it. Olli-Pekka Rantala of the communications networks unit at the ministry of transport and communications said the following: "Today the universal service obligation concerning Internet access of one Megabit per second (Mbit/s) has entered into force. It is our understanding that we have become the first in the world to have made broadband a basic right." Preach it!


Starting this month, any Internet provider that operates in Finland will be obligated to provide a 1Mbps connection to all Finnish households, regardless of location. That's certainly a huge thing to ask of ISPs, but there are limitations in place to prevent outrageous extra fees from cropping up. This is a huge, huge move, and it will hopefully spark a lot of copycat movements from other governments. No one wants to lag behind in the race to become the most connected nation in the world, and while Finland is certainly small, it's far from being "tiny." Great job on kicking things off, Finland--now it's time for the rest of the world to follow suit.




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just think of the extra tax that will ensue....

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Kyouya replied on Sat, Jul 3 2010 3:06 PM

Can you really doing anything with 1mbps? That's like Dial-up 2.0.

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If it's true 1 Mbps, then I think that's adequate. By true I mean actual speeds of 1 Mbps: I pay for 1 Mbps DSL from Verizon, and I'm lucky if I continuously get 120 Kbps.

Either way, go Finland! Shame on us Americans, we should have been the ones to do this first. Instead we're squabbling over net neutrality. Or even Japan, since they're generally more advanced than the rest of the world by a few years at least. But Finland? Never saw it coming.

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AKwyn replied on Sat, Jul 3 2010 11:32 PM

Seriously, I just wish that every country should give away 1Mbps to every citizen for free.

 

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lonewolf replied on Sun, Jul 4 2010 12:06 AM

That's not bad at all,,,,, true 1 mbps is not blazing by any stretch of the imagination but for free!!!!!!!!!! Yea sign me up all day. Big Smile

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HellSiki U Taxs into the internet!

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I fear that the above commentators have misunderstood the law ; it does not stipulate «free» broadband access, but rather that it must be provided at «reasonable charges». The Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA) defines a reasonable charge as between €30 and €40 (36 to 49USD), monthly. As to whether this refers to nominal download speeds of 1 Mbps or real ones seems unclear ; we shall have to see how the regulatory authority reacts in a case where someone tests their setup and finds that they're not getting the advertised speeds. In any event, this law doesn't seem likely to require too much of ISPs operating in Finland, as between 96 and 99 % of all homes already have such connexions. I've read that no more than 4000 homes presently lack such a service. Another aspect that isn't mentioned in the article above, but which those who think that 1 Mbps isn't much may find interesting, is that Finland has set a goal of providing 100 Mbps to all by 2015 - i e, in only five years. Now that might indeed require a bit of effort on the part of providers....

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As always, technology marches on, and 100MBPs may not be such an unreasonable goal at the rate advances are being made every day. Time will tell, and I hope it works out for them, and us too.

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Very good point Henri. After all, the US Constitution gives you the rights to the pursuit of happiness, but that's never free either!

And I think that the law will indeed get involved if someone doesn't actually get 1 Mbps speeds. After all, that seems to me to be the whole point: like I said in my previous post, I'm paying for 1 Mbps and not getting it, so if indeed in Finland 96-99% already has a 1 Mbps connection, logically the law would be made to ensure that the 1 Mbps is actually achieved, not as a means of introducing people to it on a wide scale.

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Good points, Henri. The prices you list are still cheaper than my current crappy-ass broadband. (I shouldn't say that... the service is wonderful, the speed is suck.)

But you know a history geek like me will point out (gently) to Nethersprite that it's the Declaration, not the Constitution, which announced that purfuit of happinefs was a God-given right. (Franklin did want to put in something about 1 Mbps Internet access, but the other founding fathers stared at him and went "huh?") On the other hand, the Bill of Rights gives us some nifty freedoms which compare pretty well: of speech, of religious worship, of the press, of gathering peacefully in a public place, of petitioning the government for a redress of wrongs, and of downloading porn. (Oops, sorry, that was another Franklin suggestion. Man, that guy was foresighted.)


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