Broadband now legal right in Finland
Broadband access is now a legal right to every citizen of Finland, under new legislation that comes into effect today.
Finland's new Universal Service Obligations require every operator in the country to offer broadband connections of at least 1Mbps for anybody who requests one.
And the government plans to ensure the vast majority of the population is on a 100Mbps connection by 2015.
Finnish communications minister Suvi Linden told the BBC that internet services are now a crucial part of everyday life. “Internet services are no longer just for entertainment,” she said.
An estimated 96% of the population is already online, Linden said.
But the OECD ranks Finland just 14th among its members by broadband subscribers per 100,000 people.
Access to the internet is already a protected right in Estonia, in France due to legal precedents, and in some other countries, but Finland is thought to be the first to specify speeds and connection types.
The United Nations has also been pushing to have internet access declared a universal right.
In March, a BBC World Service poll revealed that 87% of internet users agree that access to the internet should be a fundamental human right.
The moves could cause havoc for advocates of “three strikes” tactics to fight file sharing, as guaranteed internet access flies in the face of the tactic's main dissuasive measure – disconnection from the internet.