The EU Parliament has on several occasions stated that access to the Internet is one of basic human rights. Now, Finland has become the first country to actually declare fast (broadband) Internet access a legal right.
In practice, this means that telecom companies in Finland will be required to provide all Finnish citizens – all 5.3 million of them – with broaband Internet connection of at least 1 Mbps, starting in July.
That’s not all. According to the legislative counselor for the Ministry of Transport and Communications Laura Vilkkonen, the plan is to provide all the citizens with even faster broadband speeds (100 Mbps) by 2015. “We think it’s something you cannot live without in modern society. Like banking services or water or electricity, you need Internet connection,” she said.
This task is easier to achieve in Finland than most other countries, since its broadband penetration rate is among the highest in the world. In the US, the FCC may need as much as 350 billion dollars to expand broadband coverage throughout the country.
This decision by the Finnish Government is in contrast with the often heard proposals (especially in France and the UK, but also – surprisingly – in Finland) about the possible introduction of the three-strikes law, under which illegal file sharers would be disconnected from the Internet after repeated offenses. Making something a legal right doesn’t mean it cannot be taken away, but the government’s stance that broadband Internet access is similar to “banking services or water or electricity” should mean that net access should not be taken away from people lightly, if at all.
[ Article source: Mashable ]