Finland promises broadband for all

Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness… and broadband. Yup, the Finnish government is planning to make broadband internet access a legal right for all its 5.3 million citizens.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications is promising its people a guaranteed 1Mbps service by next July, rising to 100Mbps by the end of 2015. It’s not as hard a task as it might be – 95 percent of the population already has internet access – but the new initiative means it will have to focus on providing connectivity to rural areas.

According to a recent report from the Said Business School, Finland holds the 21st position worldwide in ‘broadband leadership’ – a measure based on speed and number of connections. The gap between rural and urban areas is about average right now – a little worse than that in the US.

The ministry is giving itself a bit of leeway, though, according to Finnish news site YLE. “Some variation will be allowed, if connectivity can be arranged through mobile phone networks,” it says.

It may also count a household as connected if there’s an access point within a couple of miles, leaving around 200,000 people with a bit of a walk to check their emails.