From the beginning of July, a 1 Mbit/s Internet connection will become a universal service in Finland. Simply, this means that anyone who wants an Internet connection must be provided with one at a reasonable price by one of the 26 telecom operators.
This makes Finland the first country in the world to make Internet access a basic right and it’s interesting to compare this with the UK and France which have both threatened to cut-off the connections of persistent copyright infringers.
From a technical perspective, it’s not a big deal. There’s already about 96% connection penetration in the country already and this means that there are only about 4000 properties that would need to be connected to achieve full penetration.
Personally, I think this is great step forwards. 1 Mbit/s isn’t super fast but it’s adequate and over time technology and commercial pressure will up the data rate. However, the key point is that it’s a universal service or basic right enshrined in law, which means that it can’t easily be taken away.
There’s additional coverage over at the BBC.