The government of Finland officially made having Internet connections a legal right for Finnish citizens in addition to the traditional legal rights such as the citizen’s right to be represented in court by a lawyer. The government’s decision made Finland the first nation in the world to make broadband Internet a legal right.
In its decision, the Finnish government said all telecommunications companies will be required to provide all Finnish citizens with broadband lines that can only run at a minimum of one megabyte per second. Furthermore, the government swore that by the year 2015, 100% of the Finnish population (that are able to access the Internet) will be connected with a 100-megabytes-per second connection.
The Finnish Communications Minister, Suvi Linden, declared that the Internet is a vital part of Finnish society and it was the government’s job to provide for the people. “We considered the role of the Internet in the everyday lives of Finns…Finland has worked hard to develop an information society and a couple of years ago, we realized that not everyone had access.” Additionally, the government expressed hopes that by 2015, Finland will be a more “beneficial” society as an example to the rest of the world.
The Finnish government may be the first of a kind that may arise this decade. The governments of Spain, Britain, South Korea, and many of the countries that have technology integrated into their societies already considered providing each house with an Internet connection.
The United Kingdom announced that a connection of a minimal 2 megabytes-per-second will be brought to every home. These countries however, do not currently view having access to the Internet as a legal right.
Already, approximately 97% of the Finnish population has online access. According to a recent report filed by the government, around 3,993 houses need to be connected under this new law. Many outside view Finland’s act as a great thing, “Legal right to have the Internet in your apartment? Lucky bastards!” exclaimed British citizen, Thomas Belden, 29. Yet, some are concerned that this new ‘legal right’ may backfire on the government in particular scenarios.