back to article Finland grants 5.2m souls the right to 1Mb internet

Finland has granted its inhabitants the legal right to a one-megabit broadband connection. As reported by the national broadcaster YLE, the Ministry of Transport and Communications announced yesterday that every Finn will have the right to a 1MB connection in July of next year. Previously, the government had promised 100Mb …


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  1. Hugo 1

    Switzerland the first, not Finland

    Some blogs are saying that Switzerland was the first to make broadband available to all since 1st January 2008.

  2. foo_bar_baz

    Not government funded broadband

    Before you jump to the conclusion that the government is going to pay for the connection, It simply means the ISPs have to make 1Mbps connections available in rural areas.

  3. Ryan 7
    Black Helicopters

    France says net access is a human right?

    Unless you download torrents three times, of course!

  4. vincent himpe

    ahh good old finnish 'sisu'

    Those crazy finns have whole winters to think about how to improve life ( when not on stoli ... )

    they came up with mobile phones , cell phones , sattelite tv and now they guarantee internet.

    I think by 2100 finns will be born with an wifi in their head. The doctor will ask : would you like to cut the cat-5 sir ?

  5. KaD

    Human Right?

    I agree the Internet is very useful, but I don't know about it being a right. Hey, does that mean if the record or movie industry had your Internet access terminated they could be sued for breaching your rights? Humm... I am liking this more and more.

  6. Jason Togneri

    Commenting on comments. Meta-comments?

    @ foo_bar_baz: That's already more than the UK and other such 'developed' nations, where there are large not-so-rural areas where you can't get a decent internet connection for love nor money.

    @ Hugo 1: That link doesn't necessarily imply that it's a legal obligation; it sounds more like a choice on the part of the government to be proactive in the issue, in order to increase the standard of living for their population. Finland has made it a legal obligation that the ISPs have to fulfil. There's a difference.

    @ vincent himpe: you forget that the Finns also invented Linux and IRC. However, they only legally patented Xylitol, they didn't invent it - technically, it was invented in Germany in 1929.

    @ KaD: given how many things are largely, or solely, available online, and considering what a geographically large country Finland is (the 7th largest in Europe) while having one of the smallest populations (5.25 million, the 27th most populous) - yes, it's still not up at the bread, water and air stage of necessity, but for the 4m or so who don't live in the Greater Helsinki area, it's damned useful.

  7. Charles Manning

    Is there an election coming up?

    You can likely already get 1Mb anywhere in Finland via satellite. It's just whether you're prepared to pay for it or not.

    Sounds like electioneering.

    Perhaps Switzerland was the first to supply it, but is is enshrined as a Right in Switzerland?

    If it is a human right, then the govt will have to provide it for free as a social service along with food, shelter and medical.

  8. Matt 32

    Pretty sure...

    "Human Rights" has jumped the shark as a catch phrase when it includes broadband access.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    "5.2m Souls..."

    OK, so that covers everyone in Finland - but what about the remaining five million?

  10. MacroRodent

    Fascinating to see how it works out in practice... the IT support of an elderly relative who literally lives in the Finnish woods, yet wants email, banking etc.... Currently the only way to get internet at a cost she can afford is via a cellular modem at GPRS rates only (no 3G or fixed phone lines at that location), which is too slow for today's bloated web pages.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is a legal requirement in Switzerland ..

    and has been since the 1st January 2008. The minumum bitrate requirement of 600 / 100 Kbps, is lower than the 1Mbps now required in Finland, but the Swiss were the first to make broadband a part of the universal service obligation package.

  12. Neoc

    Beware of those pesky measurement units

    "...right to a 1MB connection in July of next year. Previously, the government had promised 100Mb..."

    So, one mega-BYTE now, one-hundred mega-BITs later on... which is 12.5 mega-BYTEs. Still an impressive jump, but not as impressive as the 1:100 jump they're trying to fool us into thinking is being offered.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What price guaranteed access?

    I suspect that the law will be (is almost already) satisfied by making expensive cellular services available outside the cities.

    Having said that I live in Oulu, halfway up North. I have 100Mb/100Mb for €20 / month. Mind you, the best I've got so far is only 91Mb/sec.

    Wot - no smug bastard icon?

  14. Bassey

    Landline problem

    Didn't the reg do a piece some time ago (as in 1-2 years) about how roughly 5% of Finns (mainly young professionals) have now forgone a landline and are using 3G as their only internet access? Seems strange that a country moving away from fixed-line internet access should become the first to guarantee it.

    Whilst I applaud the sentiment, I would have thought guaranteeing a certain minimum standard of wireless would be A) cheaper and B) more useful.

  15. Rune Moberg
    Thumb Down

    what about upstream speeds?

    Those of us who sometimes uses the net for workrelated activities are usually more worried about upstream speeds. I currently have a beefy 18Mbps ADSL2+ connection because I need the 1.5Mbps upstream speed it provides.

    It is unfortunate that the ISPs who offer good/proper upstream speeds do not get more attention. Here in Norway, a fiber provider were reported to the consumer authorities when they rightfully pointed out that their competitors did not offer _real_ broadband.

  16. copsewood


    "agree the Internet is very useful, but I don't know about it being a right. Hey, does that mean if the record or movie industry had your Internet access terminated they could be sued for breaching your rights? Humm... I am liking this more and more."

    Well spotted. Fundamental human rights, e.g. included with the US Bill of Rights and the EHCR include freedoms of expression, communication and privacy. These constitutional rights don't protect the business models of copyright owners: copyright is a lesser right. Ultimately this will result in 3 strikes laws, internet connection monitoring by copyright owners and aspects of the DMCA all being declared unconstitutional, but it could take between a couple of years or several decades for supreme courts to get around to enforcing constitutional rights in this way, depending upon how effective activism in support of these consitutional rights becomes within this context.

    Slavery, denial of citizenship to blacks and various other horrors all took several decades of activism before the US constitution became effective.

  17. Andus McCoatover
    Thumb Up

    Oulu, @AC, 08:08

    Yep. I live in Oulu also.

    PanOulu's quicker than my DNA 3G modem, esp. using my minilappari in Isokatu 25 (You know the place - pint of beer at €2.80 10-16 välillä*) but at 3G access at €10/month outside the city for 384kb, it's OK for e-mails. Plus, Pr0n lasts longer ;-).

    Does this mean that it's gonna be 1Mb without an extra charge?? Doubt it...

    Andy, Tuira, Oulu.

    OK, publishable, Dearest Moderatrix: , in case the Anonymous Coward with obvious back trouble (big yellow streak running down it) wants to make contact, so I can recover the keyboard (s)he now owes me!

    I take full responsibility from any phishers out there. With an Asus eee701, I don't think I'll catch many phish.

    (*välillä - between. Actually, knowing a bit of Finnish helps me grasp the ejaculations (ooer, missus) of amanfrommars. Structure's too similar to be a coincidence)

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Is there any mention in the legislation about cost? Is there any mention of upstream speeds?

    On costs: Saying that providers must make 1Mb internet access available to all is one thing, but it's only meaningful if the providers are limitted in what they can charge for installation.

    On upstream speeds: It's possible to provide 1Mb downstream via something like a satelite link and then upstream at 56k or less by PSTN dial up or GPRS. The downstream isn't a whole lot of use without a meaningful upstream speed.

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