Home Life, Liberty & Broadband Access: Finland Makes Internet a Right

Life, Liberty & Broadband Access: Finland Makes Internet a Right

Never mind life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, if the U.S. were to follow in Finland’s footsteps, then “broadband” would be added to that list of inalienable human rights. Today, Finland became the world leader in Internet access by making broadband every Finnish citizen’s legal right and ensuring that every citizen will have access to a 1Mbps broadband connection.

The decision stands in stark opposition to the state of the Internet in the U.S., where, far from ensuring Internet access to every citizen, the battle over Net neutrality rages on.

According to the BBC report, Finland is nearly at its stated goal already, with up to 96% of the population already online and just about 4,000 homes left before Internet access is ubiquitous. Pushing the bar a little higher, the country has even guaranteed 100Mbs access to every citizen by 2015.

As Mike Masnick of TechDirt points out, the new law is “going to make it difficult for the entertainment industry to get a ‘three strikes’ policy in place in Finland”.

Suvi Linden, Finland’s communication minister, told the BBC that the country “will have a policy where operators will send letters to illegal file-sharers but we are not planning on cutting off access”.

Net neutrality proponents in the U.S., in comparison, are still battling to merely prohibit Internet service providers from limiting access to bandwidth based on the content being communicated, and they are being outspent by more than four to one.

It’s beginning to look like Internet freedom is seeping out of the Arctic Circle, as just earlier this month Iceland’s parliament passed a proposal to become a “new media haven”. Now, if only it could seep on over this way.

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