life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and broadband: finland makes access to internet a right

Flag of Finland

Flag of Finland

at a time when americans are debating whether access to life saving medical treatments and health care is fiscally plausible for all of its citizens, finland has passed a law declaring access to high-speed broadband internet is not a privilege, but a right. you heard that correctly: the country with a highly decentralized three-level, publicly funded system of health care woven into a private insurance system, has now decreed that acces to broadband internet is a right of all of its citizens.

Services must provide a minimum speed of 1 megabit per second, but the LA Times reports that the government plans to make access to super-fast 100-Mbps broadband access a legal right for Finland residents by the end of 2015.

melissa rohlin of the los angeles times adds:

the government has pledged to expand the legal right to 100-megabit broadband access by the end of 2015.

this means while we have not yet figured out how to provide basic health care to our citizens, finland is ensuring access to the internet. yet, they are doing so with private companies. this is not an example of socialist government controlled internet service, but rather a government mandate that the finnish internet service providers actually provide a minimal level of service to all parts of the country.

can you imagine if our government required our companies to actually provide decent cell phone service to all citizens? then maybe i could get a signal in my own home. instead, i have at&t.


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