Finland makes 1Mb broadband access a legal right

[This article originally found here:]

Finland’s Ministry of Transport and Communications has made 1-megabit broadband Web access a legal right, YLE, the country’s national broadcasting company, reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, every person in Finland (a little over 5 million people, according to a 2009 estimate) will have the right of access to a 1Mb broadband connection starting in July. And they may ultimately gain the right to a 100Mb broadband connection.

Just more than a year ago, Finland said it would make a 100Mb broadband connection a legal right by the end of 2015. Wednesday’s announcement is considered an intermediate step.

France, one of a few countries that has made Internet access a human right, did so earlier this year. France’s Constitutional Council ruled that Internet access is a basic human right. That said, it stopped short of making “broadband access” a legal right. Finland says that it’s the first country to make broadband access a legal right.

But Finland’s definition of “access” to broadband is a little fuzzy. According to the Helsinki Times when it reported the 100Mb target last year, the Finnish government said that no household “would be farther than 2 kilometers from a connection capable of delivering broadband Internet with a capacity of at least 100 megabits of data a second.” It did say, though, that “about 2,000 (households) in far-flung corners of the country” wouldn’t be included. Ostensibly, Finland plans to keep that same distribution when its 1Mb broadband access is implemented.

Finland has long been a tech-industry leader that has done a fine job investing in technology, more than many of its European counterparts. It’s also home to Nokia, among other tech firms.