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High-speed Internet access is a legal right in Finland

October 15, 2009 |  4:38 pm

Finland
That's hot. From the land that brought you the Sauna World Championship comes guaranteed high-speed Internet for all. Credit: Heikki Saukkomaa/AFP/Getty Images

Life, liberty and the right to broadband access?

If Thomas Jefferson and our enlightened forefathers were here today, perhaps our unalienable rights would mimic Finland's, which will now include the right to broadband access. According to Finland's Ministry of Transport and Communication, 1-megabit Web access will become a legal right for all citizens in July.

France is one of the few countries that has made it a human right but Finland said it's the first country to make it a legal right.

It's not clear whether those who can't get connection can sue the government for the violation.

Since 1-megabit web access is dauntingly slow -- it's equivalent to DSL speed -- the government has pledged to expand the legal right to 100-megabit broadband access by the end of 2015. This news must come as a relief to Finns who have more important things to do than suffer the pain and frustration of a slow Internet connection. (There are allegedly 1.6 saunas for every Finn.)

How fast is a 100-megabit connection? A Best Buy representative laughed and said, "Ridiculously fast," adding, "You'd be able to download a 500-megabyte file in only like five minutes."

The government's magnanimity is not surprising, because the world's ultimate philanthropist, Santa Claus, is a Finn -- his office is in northern Finland on the Arctic Circle, according to the Finnish Tourist Board.

-- Melissa Rohlin

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