Finland: First Country to Make Broadband Connection a Legal Right to Citizens

Finland: First Country to Make Broadband Connection a Legal Right to Citizens – Finnish could have been very glad about this one. Their country has become the first in the world to make broadband internet access a legal right for all citizens. How’s that sound?

Finnish government has released a statement commanding telecom operators to provide a reasonably priced broadband connection with a downstream rate of at least one megabit per second (mbs) to every permanent residence and office in the country. The legislation came into effect Thursday.

“From now on a reasonably priced broadband connection will be everyone’s basic right in Finland,” said Finnish communications minister Suvi Linden. “This is absolutely one of the government’s most significant achievements in regional policy and I am proud of it. CNN

It is known to be as the Universal Service Obligation. It means broadband access is considered as a commodity just like telephone and postal services. This is according to the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA).

There will be 26 telecommunications companies as universal service providers assigned across the nation and would cost a reasonable price of 30 to 40 Euros (around $37 to $47) per month.

Finland has been famous because of Nokia and is one of the most wired countries in the world. In fact, October of 2009, 95 percent of its population has some form of internet access. That is according to the statement of Laura Vilkkonen, legislative counselor for the Ministry of Transport and Communications to CNN.

Statistics released by the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development) for December 2009 put broadband penetration in Finland at 26.7 percent, compared to 26.4 per cent for the United States. The Netherlands and Denmark ranked equal first at 37.1 percent each. CNN