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1Mb Broadband Access Becomes Legal Right In Finland 875

Posted by samzenpus
from the give-me-broadband-or-give-me-death dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Starting next July, every person in Finland will have the right to a one-megabit broadband connection, according to the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Finland is the world's first country to create laws guaranteeing broadband access. The Finnish people are also legally guaranteed a 100Mb broadband connection by the end of 2015."
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1Mb Broadband Access Becomes Legal Right In Finland

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  • Meanwhile in America (Score:4, Informative)

    by rolfwind (528248) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @08:04PM (#29751603)

    Don't they always chant population density as to reason why many people are stuck with dial-up?

    • by drizek (1481461) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @08:40PM (#29751923)

      Yes, the population in America is generally pretty dense, so we tend to lag behind the rest of the world.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)

      Don't they always chant population density as to reason why many people are stuck with dial-up?

      Its weird that Australia, with 10% the population density as the USA has similar problems. Judging from the complaints from USA people on /. the situation in .au might actually be slightly better.

    • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorpNO@SPAMGmail.com> on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:48PM (#29752887) Homepage Journal

      Don't they always chant population density as to reason why many people are stuck with dial-up?

      While there are indeed areas where cable or DSL isn't available, I think you're seriously underestimating the number of people that use dial-up simply because they don't see the need for broadband, nor the point in paying for it. I think you'd be quite surprised at the number of people that would tell you "Look, I don't want cable. I check email and look at the occasional news website.

  • Wow. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @08:04PM (#29751605)
    "Reasonable speed access to free porn" has now become a basic human right?
    • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Funny)

      by PPH (736903) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @08:44PM (#29751959)

      From: Finland Telecom Customer Service Manager

      Dear Sir,

      Your install has been scheduled for next month. Please accept our humble apologies. We are attempting to clear the backlog of new application as soon as possible.

      In the meantime, we hope that the strippers we have sent over to your house will serve your needs until your broadband order is complete. Again, please acept our most sincere apologies.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by uncqual (836337)
        From: Sir

        Dear Finland Telecom Customer Service Manager,

        No problem. No rush.

        Actually, I'm going to be pretty busy over the cumming years so may not be able to let your techs in to do the installation for quite sometime.

        I'll call you when I'm available to provide access to the installers.

        Thank You

        p.s. While it's on my mind, do I just call customer service for replacement if the strippers wear out or break?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      This IS the Nordic women we're talking about. I'm sure even a bumbling slashdotter could land something decent.

      No honestly, do you guys have fat unattractive girls over there that no one photographs? I swear every picture I've seen taken in Sweden or Finland looks like the hot sorority house on campus.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dwater (72834)

        > No honestly, do you guys have fat unattractive girls over there that no one photographs?

        As an Englishman living in Finland, I have to admit, the women here *are* quite attractive, on the whole.

        I certainly can't think of anyone who is all of: fat, unattractive, girl, not photographed, *and* over here.

        The beach in summer....wow...just WOW....and, remember, the day lasts until 10 or 11 pm in summer.....we don't need no stinkin broadband, 1Mb or otherwise. Oh, right...the winter...yeah, fair enough.

  • Lucky (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheKidWho (705796) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @08:04PM (#29751611)

    Lucky them.

    Here in NYC, Time Warner just released a 50/5 Mb DOCSIS 3.0 plan... For a whopping cost of $99.95/month.

    • Re:Lucky (Score:5, Informative)

      by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @08:15PM (#29751707)

      If that's supposed to be bad, I'm jealous.

      Here I get 3mb cable with a 20gb monthly cap for $70 per month, and it's the fastest and highest value I can get for straight internet.

      I could get 10mb with no cap from the same company for about $80 per month, but I would also have to buy a cable and phone service package. The total would be around $200 or so per month.

      You've got it easy in NYC, and I know there are still some places in my state where you can't get better than dialup speeds, and if you can they are outrageous.

  • by Mr. Roadkill (731328) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @08:08PM (#29751641)
    In the convenience of your own home, or similar to the right to access clean drinking water you find in some places?

    The wording is something to the effect of no household being more than 2 kilometres from a high-speed connection. Are we talking about a pipe to the house, or having to line up to use the communal pump and carry your buckets of bits back home with you?
  • by tchdab1 (164848) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @08:08PM (#29751643) Homepage

    I'll wait to move there until they establish the right to winters that don't drop below zero.

  • Idle hands (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jamesl (106902) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @08:09PM (#29751651)

    Politicians with too much time and not enough to do.

  • by Rising Ape (1620461) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @08:16PM (#29751719)

    Isn't this just an extension of the universal service obligations commonly associated with telephone, electricity etc.?

    Having said that, I don't really see the need for 100 Mbps internet access for everyone - it's expensive to provide, and what very important services does it provide that 1 Mbps won't?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Djupblue (780563)
      640Kb Blah bla blah...
  • Lapland? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SharpFang (651121) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @08:17PM (#29751737) Homepage Journal

    I wonder how are they going to guarantee it to reindeer shepherds in the far north of Finland, living in the taiga good 100km away from nearest electric power...

  • Finland had it all (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @08:32PM (#29751857)

    Finland, Finland, Finland [youtube.com]
    The country where I want to be
    Pony trekking or camping
    Or just watching TV
    Finland, Finland, Finland
    It's the country for me

    You're so near to Russia
    So far from Japan
    Quite a long way from Cairo
    Lots of miles from Vietnam

    Finland, Finland, Finland
    The country where I want to be
    Eating breakfast or dinner
    Or snack lunch in the hall
    Finland, Finland, Finland
    Finland has it all

    You're so sadly neglected
    And often ignored
    A poor second to Belgium
    When going abroad

    Finland, Finland, Finland
    The country where I quite want to be
    Your mountains so lofty
    Your treetops so tall
    Finland, Finland, Finland
    Finland has it all

    Finland, Finland, Finland
    The country where I quite want to be
    Your mountains so lofty
    Your treetops so tall
    Finland, Finland, Finland
    Finland has it all

    Finland has it all

  • by CoriolisSTORM (1144301) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @09:30PM (#29752371)
    As an American living in one of the oft talked about rural areas of America with access to only dial up (which gives me a whopping 28.8k connection due to signal quality), or over priced satellite, I am more than ready for something along this line to be adopted here. At a time when more and more information and services are being distributed over the Internet, it gives us rural people a big disadvantage. For example, I work rotating shifts in a factory and would like to go to college to get a degree eventually. Due to my shift work, a physical classroom is out of the question, admissions would laugh me right out if the campus, but an online program through a local and respected school could help me to get to that goal. An online college course is not an option when it takes >30 minutes to load a 10 second video or when you have to split a 50 mb download over 5 nights to get the data. I promise, if the shoe were on the other foot you'd understand where I'm coming from.
  • by maillemaker (924053) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @09:32PM (#29752395)

    In my view, Internet access is more important and powerful than the postal and library services combined. Surely if the government provides those basic services through taxation, a basic Internet communications infrastructure should also.

  • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @09:56PM (#29752549) Homepage

    What good is the right to a broadband connection if they don't have the right to an unfiltered connection? In case you didn't know, a filter maintained by Finnish police that's supposed to block child pornography also blocks other content, including a website critical of Finland's internet filter:

    http://www.effi.org/blog/kai-2008-02-18.html [effi.org]

    • by LilWolf (847434) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @12:45AM (#29753449)
      The filter isn't mandatory and as such not all ISPs use it(not that it makes it much better). For example my ISP(Saunalahti) doesn't use it. Though they often operate in Elisas network which does use the list so if your connection makes use of Elisas name servers you'll be on an filtered connection. To the credit of Saunalahti, all it took was one e-mail to them and I had instructions to use their name servers to avoid the filtering.
  • by hydrofi (576145) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:29PM (#29752743)

    I would like correct some misunderstandings that several readers seem to have after reading the article title. This does NOT mean that every Finn will be getting a government-financed 1Mbit broadband starting next July (doh..) but rather it's something of an obligation to the government imposed by itself on itself, to provide every single address in Finland (including the extremely rural Northern villages in Lapland) with the readiness to start using a moderate broadband connection by next July. The customers will definitely still have to pay their TelCo of choice a monthly fee for providing the actual service (actually, I personaly just renewed my contract with the Telco for 24 months - I guess they would have said if broadband was going to be a free commodity by next year :).

    The assumed logic behind this is, that as more and more of government functions and media are moving from physical media to the Internet, the technical readiness to access the Internet from one's home should be a civil right, just like running water, a telephone line and snail mail delivery. After this, the government can start moving more of its stuff to the Internet (e.g. some tax-money financed television content produced by the national broadcaster is already available only on-line), and they can rest easy that no one will file a complaint that a broadband Internet access is something of a luxury product (like it was in the early 90's), or that the government is giving priority to the South where broadband access was a few years back more abundant.

    Of course, in practice 1Mb connections have been available in all urbanized and even less-urbanized areas for several years. I think this law will simply mean that the government will pay the TelCos some subsidies to build the last-mile cable even in the far, rural North, and in the very few Southern villages that are still without 1Mb broadband cables.

  • This bothers me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blockhouse (42351) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:31PM (#29752761)

    What bothers me about this isn't the free internet. No, that part is pretty cool. What bothers me is the underlying political philosophy. What is a "right?" When do they start? Who creates them?

    According to what Jefferson laid out in the Declaration of Independence, rights are inborn into the nature of each person. They are endowed to everyone by their Creator. The distinction here is critical. Rights are inherent in the nature of the human being and an integral part of human dignity -- they are not given by a government. A government cannot give or abolish rights. A person has rights regardless of what his government says. A government can only protect or infringe them.

    (That said, a person can abrogate his own rights through the exercise of criminal activity -- this is why governments can licitly infringe on the rights of criminals by imprisoning them.)

    Now, if someone has a right to a broadband connection, that means he has always had this right. All humans in all times and places have always had the right to a broadband connection, because this right is a part of their nature. Now, given the fact that broadband connections have not always existed, it's difficult to see how having a broadband connection is an inherent part of human dignity.

    It bothers me that lot of Americans seem a bit fuzzy on the concept of rights and are departing more and more from the Locke-Paine-Jefferson school of thought. Ask any given sample of Americans about the subject, and I'll bet 95% of them would say that rights come from the government. A people who look to their government rather to themselves as a source of their rights is a people cowed by tyranny.

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