Finland formally introduces a 'right to broadband'

Written by Hans Graux on , in category Telecommunications

 

After much debate, Finland has become the first country in the world to introduce a 'right to broadband internet access' for all of its citizens and businesses, effective as of 1 July 2010. The right, linked to the Finnish implementation of the universal service obligations for telecommunications service providers, implies that everyone in Finland must be able to subscribe to 1 Mbit/s broadband.

As explained by the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA, Viestintävirasto) in its press release, the right does not imply that all Finns should get free Internet access, but rather that subscriptions should be made available to them via a network of 26 universal service operators assigned by FICORA to cover all of Finland. The fees for this service may be determined by the operators themselves, although FICORA will monitor them to ensure that they are reasonable. Provisionally, FICORA has declared that it considers a monthly subscription fee of 30 to 40 EUR to be acceptable. The right was implemented via an amendment to the Communications Market Act, with speed requirements having been specified in a Decree of the Ministry of Transport and Communications.