Right to byte

Internet>> Legal Rights ÔÇó Finland

Published: Monday 30 November -0001


July 1, 2010 is very likely to be a landmark date in Internet history.

On that day Finland became the first country to make broadband a legal right for every citizen. Every Finn will have the right to access to a 1Mbps (megabit per second) broadband connection. The country’s government has promised linking all to a 100Mbps connection by 2015.

The new law means telecommunications companies will be obliged to provide residents Internet connectivity of 1Mbps. Finland’s communication minister Suvi Linden told BBC, “Finland has worked hard to develop an information society and a couple of years ago we realized not everyone had access.”

According to unofficial estimates 96 per cent of Finland’s adult population have a net connection. Making broadband a right could have implications for countries that plan action on illegal file-sharing. The UK and France have said they may cut off or limit the Internet connections of people who persistently download free.

But the Finnish government has adopted a gentler approach. “We will have a policy where operators will send letters to illegal file-sharers,” Linden said.

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