Finland - home of the mobile 'phone giant Nokia - has become the latest country to make access to broadband a legal right, ensuring that every single one of its citizens has an Internet connection of at least 1Mb/s by July 2010.
If that wasn't enough - and let's face it, 1Mb/s is pretty small potatoes these days - the Finnish government has pledged to work toward giving every single home access to a 100Mb/s connection by 2015.
As reported over on Gizmodo
, the move is designed to ensure that Finnish citizens don't fall victim to the so-called "digital divide
," where well-off citizens have access to all the benefits of the Internet while poorer residents are cut off from the Web and all the opportunity it offers.
While Finland was beaten to the punch by Switzerland, which has already made a similar move to enshrine a legal right to broadband Internet access by ensuring that all citizens would have access to a minimum of 600Kb/s downstream and 100Kb/s upstream by 2008, it's a smart move by the government - and puts the country miles ahead of most European countries, including the UK.
In this country, although broadband isn't yet a right by law, the government is looking to introduce a 50p per month 'phone tax
on landline connections which would go to fund further development of the countries broadband infrastructure - bringing faster internet connections to smaller rural areas which would be uneconomical for the providers themselves to develop. Despite this, the project only goes to make broadband available
across the country - not to actually provide
broadband to UK citizens, who will still have to actually sign up and pay for a connection from a commercial entity if they want to get connected.
Do you believe that the Finnish government's move puts it at the head of developed countries when it comes to understanding how important the Internet is in modern living, or is it daft to call broadband connections a legal right? Share your thoughts over in the forums