Broadband in Finland is now a legal right
July 1, 2010 6:32 PM   Subscribe

As of 1 July 2010, broadband is now a legal right in Finland.

Every person in Finland now has a guaranteed right to a one-megabit broadband connection. By 2015, that legal right will have been upgraded to a right to a hundred-megabit connection.

What it means for Finnish ISPs is that those designated as "universal service providers" will be legally required to provide that one-megabit service, at a reasonable price, to every household and person in Finland.

4 in 5 people now believe that internet access is a fundamental right, according to a BBC poll.
posted by WalterMitty (70 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was thinking about this a couple days ago when NPR was talking about how the library is the only place many people can use the internet. I do believe that internet access is a fundamental right and I think this is awesome. Add another one to my 'Reasons I'm Jealous of Finns' list.
posted by saul wright at 6:38 PM on July 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


From the Finns' mouths to Michigan's ears. . . .

Seriously, I have ultra-super-mambo-speedy space-age cable high speed here, and people who live literally 2 blocks from me have to rely on dial-up or that dumb TV-satellite download + dial-up upload deal because they flat do not have cable service on any of the county two-lane roads, let alone the 6,000 local woodsy or farmy side-roads.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:03 PM on July 1, 2010


I don't know. You have to stop somewhere. Should refrigerators be a legal right? There's a line between things that it would be inhumane for everyone not to have and things that are very, very nice to have. This seems to be more towards the latter side.
posted by resiny at 7:09 PM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


United States internet access statistics circa 2009. Interestingly, it claims only 74.1% of the population had internet access in August 2009, compared to Finland's 96% as of 30 June 2010.
posted by WalterMitty at 7:10 PM on July 1, 2010


I don't know. You have to stop somewhere. Should refrigerators be a legal right? There's a line between things that it would be inhumane for everyone not to have and things that are very, very nice to have. This seems to be more towards the latter side.

The reasoning I've seen while looking about for material on this goes: (1) Free speech is a human right. (2) The internet is now an essential part of communication and a major enabler of said free speech. (3) Therefore, internet access is also a human right.
posted by WalterMitty at 7:14 PM on July 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


The reasoning I've seen while looking about for material on this goes: (1) Free speech is a human right. (2) The internet is now an essential part of communication and a major enabler of said free speech. (3) Therefore, internet access is also a human right.

The problem is that premise two is not particularly supportable. Sure, the internet is a major enabler of free speech, but "essential"? There's plenty of ways to speak without the internet. Not having the internet no more denies you the ability to speak than not having a megaphone does.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:27 PM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I work as an elderly caregiver, and in my experience the folks I have worked with fall under the categories of either not understanding/being interested in the internet, and those who have fallen in love with the new found freedom the internet gives them to stay in touch with the world outside of their "apartment", where they wait for someone to bring them medication and help them bathe (and the very, very occasional visit from a relative). So yeah, I think internet as a fundamental right could be very positive, especially high speed internet at a low price.

And I think there should be an effort to teach elderly people about how to use the internet. Imagine seeing the internet for the first time as someone who has no idea what broadband means, and then having to deal with the excruciatingly slow speed of dial-up and being bombarded with pop up windows and scams. I know one facility I worked at made a fair effort to make sure people knew how to use their remote, and who to call if there was a problem, and so on. A similar thing should happen with the internet, because it's more interactive than television and can be a new set of legs for a lot of people.
posted by Corduroy at 7:30 PM on July 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


The reasoning I've seen while looking about for material on this goes: (1) Free speech is a human right. (2) The internet is now an essential part of communication and a major enabler of said free speech. (3) Therefore, internet access is also a human right.

(1) Free speech is a human right. (2) Demonstrating in front of the Capitol building to protest the continued occuptation of Iraq is a means of the aformentioned right. (3) Therefore, having a car to drive to the D.C. is a human right.

In 2010, it'll be a FIAT from the mid-eighties. In 2015, it'll be an Aston Martin DB9.

We're really stretching what rights are inalienable.
posted by cgomez at 7:34 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Free speech was a luxury once, too. Humans change; human desires and capacities change; and human rights change with them.
posted by stammer at 7:35 PM on July 1, 2010


Broadband in Finland is now a legal right

Vodka, too, right?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:37 PM on July 1, 2010


I wouldn't think it's a right in the sense that it would be inhumane for people to not have access to it or that it's an inalienable intrinsic right, it's something which this particular society has decided to provide to its citizens. It's like a United States citizen having free and unlimited access to use and re-use in any manner any writings or photographs or other copyrightable material the federal government produces... we don't consider it a fundamental right which all people everywhere must be furnished with by their government, even U.S. state and local governments don't have to do that - it's just something that we as a society have decided to give our citizens.
posted by XMLicious at 7:37 PM on July 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


We're really stretching what rights are inalienable.

"We"? You live in Finland, do you? Seems to me the Finnish government has more authority to speak to this than does some dude in Santa Barbara.
posted by dersins at 7:39 PM on July 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: some dude in Santa Barbara.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:41 PM on July 1, 2010 [13 favorites]


At what point will you be able to serve a subpoena via IM?
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:42 PM on July 1, 2010


"We"? You live in Finland, do you? Seems to me the Finnish government has more authority to speak to this than does some dude in Santa Barbara.

From the linked BBC article: "The survey - of more than 27,000 adults across 26 countries - found strong support for net access on both sides of the digital divide... International bodies such as the UN are also pushing for universal net access. "

This is a global discussion isn't it? This news is of note because many would think it's an idea worth spreading while some think it's preposterous. I wasn't aware only the Finnish could opine, dersins.
posted by cgomez at 7:44 PM on July 1, 2010


It's all about access to porn... the Finns need the high bandwidth to enjoy Lapp dances over the Internet.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:44 PM on July 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


Consider that the United States Bill of Rights recognises freedom of "the press", which is not an intrinsic quality of human beings, but a recent technological and social innovation.
posted by stammer at 7:46 PM on July 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Electricity and phone service are considered rights in the US, so we do have a bit of a precedent. Tax money heavily subsidizes rural electrification and rural phone service, even in areas where it really doesn't make any economic sense.
posted by miyabo at 7:46 PM on July 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


People shouldn't use legal terms if they don't know what they mean.

A right to a 1mb connection in Finland is in no sense going to be "inalienable".
posted by wilful at 7:48 PM on July 1, 2010


At what point will you be able to serve a subpoena via IM?

If you're in Saudi Arabia, you can divorce your wife by SMS.
posted by WalterMitty at 7:51 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd take the Internet connection and ditch the phone service.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:58 PM on July 1, 2010


I'm entitled to whatever my shameless, pandering Senator SAYS I have a right to.

As long as someone else's taxes pay for it.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:59 PM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would suggest that Internet access is not so much a fundamental human right rather than an expected social service to be supported by any government with sufficient resources.

It's not quite life-or-death. I wouldn't call electricity or phone service an inalienable right, but they are absolutely vital to civilized society. Internet access is a single step down from there. The Internet is rarely a life-or-death definer like electricity can be, but it is often a great equalizer. Anybody willing to learn the basic of Internet use can do things such as search for work online, find housing online, and access government services and information outside regular business hours. There are enough resources online that someone with the time and learning capacity could train enough and communicate enough to find a decent paying job online. We're not talking the scams about single parents making six figures reading emails. I mean people putting in enough time and effort to learn Web programming and earning a reasonable living from it.

It would be nice to live in a world where we could say Internet access is a fundamental human right. We're still working on access to things like clean water and safe housing. Once we have those a little more secure, we can work on more advanced measures of civilization as being fundamentally "rights" owed to us.
posted by Saydur at 8:12 PM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


anyone else enjoy the stock photo that had nothing to do with the internet or really even networking?
posted by Mach5 at 8:41 PM on July 1, 2010


The reasoning I've seen while looking about for material on this goes: (1) Free speech is a human right. (2) The internet is now an essential part of communication and a major enabler of said free speech. (3) Therefore, internet access is also a human right.

That reasoning is ridiculous. I guess they made typewriters and postage a human right 50 years ago too?

Saydur is correct- we can deem it a social service if we want, but making it a right really dilutes the actual human rights.
posted by gjc at 8:46 PM on July 1, 2010


the Finns need the high bandwidth to enjoy Lapp dances over the Internet.

Indeed. Apparently it's almost impossible for them to Finnish without it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:50 PM on July 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Free internet is now almost a right in the US, as long as you're drinking coffee at Starbucks.
posted by mecran01 at 9:10 PM on July 1, 2010


"Fundamental human right"?

Heh!

Next thing you know, they'll make "Ability To Make Liberal Talking Points Into Actual, Demonstrable Intelligence" a fundamental human right, as well.
posted by CountSpatula at 9:46 PM on July 1, 2010


4 in 5 people now believe that internet access is a fundamental right, according to a BBC poll.

4 of 5 people now have no meaningful concept of what a "fundamental right" really is. Why the fuck should you have a right to a specific advanced technology in your home? If you want it, get off your ass and earn a paycheque and fucking pay for it. You can live just fine without an internet connection. Fundamental human right - Jesus, don't these idiots realize that if every nice bauble our society can produce is a fundamental right, then the whole term ceases to have any meaning? Where's the rhetorical power in inveighing against real abuses of state power when habeas corpus, the right to be free from torture or the right to privacy exist on the same plane as the right to stream porn seamlessly?
posted by Dasein at 9:55 PM on July 1, 2010


Metafilter: some dude in Santa Barbara.

flapjax at midnight: I might be biased, but that's a slogan I can get behind...
posted by cgomez at 10:02 PM on July 1, 2010


we can deem it a social service if we want, but making it a right really dilutes the actual human rights.

Next thing you know, they'll make "Ability To Make Liberal Talking Points Into Actual, Demonstrable Intelligence" a fundamental human right, as well.

Is anyone other than the sensationalist media actually calling this a fundamental right? The linked Finnish press release does not mention the word 'right' in either the English translation or the original Finnish, instead referring to it as a "universal service obligation" that will be "included in basic communications services like telephone or postal services".
posted by Pyry at 10:02 PM on July 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


And Europe moves forward as America screams in disbelief and rage at the very idea.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:04 PM on July 1, 2010 [12 favorites]


And Europe moves forward as America screams in disbelief and rage at the very idea.

That depends on whether you think that building a society in which people focus on what government owes them rather than what they can do for themselves constitutes "moving forward." Europe can't pay for the social programs it has; its population is aging; the last thing it needs is more unnecessary entitlements.
posted by Dasein at 10:09 PM on July 1, 2010


And Europe moves forward as America screams in disbelief and rage at the very idea.

Well, there's precedent. Remember 'universal health care'?
posted by WalterMitty at 10:14 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


The right to vote includes an obligation on the part of the government to purchase material technology and make it available to everyone. It's not a free service, and they don't just prevent people from obstructing your vote. They have to spend a lot of money on you, buying and distributing huge quantities of physical matrials, to make sure you have the necessary equipment to exercise your right. The whole logistical and economic process behind it would have been inconceivable in the Middle Ages, and the idea that a state would be required to extend it to hundreds of millions of people, repeatedly, would seem incomprehensibly indulgent.
posted by stammer at 10:17 PM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, providing the tools necessary to obtain the consent of the governed is roughly equivalent on the rights spectrum to providing fast internet access. By your standard of whether it would have been conceivable in the Middle Ages, I guess it's also the equivalent of not burning people at the stake for being witches or heretics.
posted by Dasein at 10:21 PM on July 1, 2010


Yep, that's about the shape of it.
posted by stammer at 10:22 PM on July 1, 2010


It's time that broadband should be seen as another service like mail, sewerage, garbage collection. It's not something you should have to live without. I think that's all the Finns are saying here.

The BBC seemed to add the "fundamental right" stuff. It's not on the Finn link.
posted by bhnyc at 10:28 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty comfortable with people deciding how much Internet they want and paying for it!
I'm comfortable with people considering penetration of broadband and other services when they decide where to live!
I'm comfortable with redistribution that doesn't overwhelmingly favor people with expensive computers and big home theaters!
1MB lines are not a social service needed by the poor, and I'm comfortable with the well-off paying for it themselves!

FREEDOM!
posted by grobstein at 10:43 PM on July 1, 2010


(There may well be some markets where it makes sense for broadband to be a government utility. It's conceivable, especially if you think far enough into the future. Maybe Finland is there. The US certainly isn't.)
posted by grobstein at 10:44 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Should refrigerators be a legal right?

In some places people aren't allowed not to have one.
posted by finite at 11:02 PM on July 1, 2010


I think it's great. It raises the bar on what we should expect from our governance, and it would benefit us here in the United States of America greatly if we were to do it.

Think of it as the new interstate highway system. That was federally funded, right? And who today has a beef with that? Giving everyone in the country access to the Internet would make it flourish, not degrade our other rights.
posted by atchafalaya at 11:02 PM on July 1, 2010


First of all, like others have pointed out, it's not a right. It's a service obligation. Identical things exist for postal service, phone service and electricity. Broadband is not a government utility. Broadband is not free. It does not mean everyone will necessarily have it.

The reason this has been done is actually much more cynical than you would think. The government wants to cut back on things as much as possible but by law they have to offer a lot of services so they want to move a lot of it online. Taxes, pensions, social security; you name it, it's cheaper to provide no face-to-face to service and reduce phone services. Now the government can move just about anything online and point out to this bit of law and say that everyone has access to the internet. The fact that all this publicity is going to perhaps but Finland one spot higher on whatever the next ranking of countries based on how well they have adopted new technology is just a free bonus.
posted by Authorized User at 11:06 PM on July 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


Yeah, the arguments for this halfway house regulation are much weaker than those for universal access to free and fast internet as a legal right and an obligation of the state. This is the Obamanet. A National Internet Service would be far preferable.
posted by stammer at 11:11 PM on July 1, 2010


A National Internet Service would be far preferable.

Yes. In particular, after high school, all 18-year-olds (unless they join the Army) should be required to put in two years on the message boards, spreading the good word, building blogs for the indigent, flaming disreputable elements, and Designing the American Web. You are the ones we have been loading for. Yes WeCANN.

It'll build character, I miss the good old days, this generation sux
posted by grobstein at 11:21 PM on July 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I see some posters here are quite supportive of the digital divide. Clearly they like having the advantage of instant access to news, weather, entertainment, government resources and porn pictures of their grandkids. Oh, and job openings, just in case anyone thought the other stuff wasn't important.

What's the matter love, all afraid you'd loose if the playing field was level?
posted by Goofyy at 11:22 PM on July 1, 2010


I have a feeling people who spend all day online overestimate the importance of the "digital divide."
posted by grobstein at 11:36 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Don't you remember any of the natural disasters of late? When the desperate were told to go to a website for assistance and info, and that was all they were offered for days? Think of all the times you have had to go online to accomplish something critical to your everyday existence. Lots of folks try to get by without the internet but are often forced by circumstances to use it. They should be able to.
posted by bonefish at 11:37 PM on July 1, 2010


grobstein: 1MB lines Literacy and the ability to use it are not a social service needed by the poor
FTFY
posted by finite at 11:40 PM on July 1, 2010


I'm a Finn. The implications of this new law are a bit hazy. "Reasonable price" is a concept you can stretch pretty far. People living in remote-ish areas will still have to pay through the nose if they want even a measly 1Mbps connection. And 1Mbps is all they're likely to get in the foreseeable future for any (semi-)reasonable price.

Where DSL is not available at all, 3G will have to do. 900MHz 3G wireless will probably reach nearly every corner of the country eventually, but the wired infrastructure supporting the wireless users is usually weak in sparsely populated areas. Given any non-trivial number of shared users for that backend, 1Mbps won't happen.

The law, while in effect, is little more than political posturing and governmental press releases at the moment. Attached to some news story I read about this yesterday was a quote by the notoriously dimwitted Minister of Communication, extolling pride in this "major achievement". It's practical significance is nowhere near the hyperbole.

But the "100Mbps by 2015" bit is not about to become law in any form. It's a fantastically unrealistic pipe dream of the Ministry of Transport and Communications. It's totally disconnected from reality, and everyone here knows it.
posted by lifeless at 12:06 AM on July 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the local perspective, lifeless. Up to now it's been a lot of blahter and hot air. Good to have some idea of how the people actually in Finland view it.
posted by WalterMitty at 12:28 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Another Finn. I think that

a) the implications of the law are more related to social justice and equality than to technical solutions. As in all Scandinavian countries, also Finland has an increasing gap betw. rich and poor. The law indicates that the government is and will be interested in social equality between different social classes – unlike in developing countries ;)

b) Relatively large areas of Finland are rural and remote in a sense that only few people live there. Thus, it's not that much of a business to offer good services there. I think it's all about the farmer oriented Central Party, who is running for this issue, to force telecom industry to offer services in the sticks.

DB
posted by Doggiebreath at 2:00 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


and access government services and information outside regular business hours

This has been a big trend in Finland for years. I mean, I moved from Finland 8 years ago, and even by that point practically all of my banking (including student loans, international bank transfers, loan repayment schedules etc.) was online. My father was immediately behind the technology when it first appeared as he saw the benefits of not having to queue up or deal with (as much) bureaucracy when you just want to pay some bills. This is the main appeal for a lot of people - it is less hassle to do most things online these days. The government is just following up on this trend and moving a lot of its services online.

On another note, we joke about the fact that every Finnish person has a mobile phone yet never wants to talk to anybody. There's a reason we love text message, e-mail and doing things through the privacy of a home computer.

In the official statement they make an explicit statement that an internet connection is a service equal to a telephone or the postal service - it's a right, but not quite comparable to the right to free speech or not being tortured to death by the government. The beauty of socialism: since everyone is already guaranteed a place to live, food to eat and medical services we get to add things that lots of countries consider luxuries as rights (it also helps that Finland has a population of around 5 million...)
posted by slimepuppy at 2:38 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's time that broadband should be seen as another service like mail, sewerage, garbage collection. It's not something you should have to live without. I think that's all the Finns are saying here.

I think in some ways it's just about closing the gap - this just looks like obliging businesses to provide broadband in places it isn't economically sound to do it until the coverage is as close to 100% as possible.

That's not like a current scheme here in the UK where all children of a certain age with parents on below a certain income are entitled to a free laptop and a year's worth of broadband. From what I remember it's a £300 million scheme and when the money runs out it runs out, but it the meantime that gap gets closed somewhat.
posted by shinybaum at 3:20 AM on July 2, 2010


Quite a large proportion of Finns like to spend a month or so in a summer house at this time of year. These are out in the woods, on islands and up in the Arctic tundra. Good luck providing broadband of any sort out there. So the universal access rule might need to take a summer break too.

But Finland has just had one of its most severe winters for 50 years. A dark, freezing night in February is just the kind of time when this rule would make the most sense.

I would not be too surprised if Nokia my have been behind this rule. Since getting wired access to many places is going to be impossible a wireless system becomes the alternative. For them it could be both a revenue stream and an R&D opportunity.
posted by rongorongo at 3:24 AM on July 2, 2010


I'd hope this make any "three strikes" laws impossible in Finland, but I'd though that Finland had much more abusive copyright laws than it's neighbors. Or maybe just their RIAA are bigger jerks?
posted by jeffburdges at 3:51 AM on July 2, 2010


"We"? You live in Finland, do you?

Joo, so suomi
posted by infini at 4:00 AM on July 2, 2010


In other news, 4 out of 5 people are experts at philosophy of law and/or ethics.
posted by polymodus at 7:34 AM on July 2, 2010


One other point here: Finland happens to have the world's most effective education system and one of the least economically broken economies in the developed world right now. If you don't come from Finland then it might be worth considering whether you are qualified to advise them what to do with their money.
posted by rongorongo at 7:39 AM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, sure. It's easy to have high capacity pipe in a country where the average temperature is very conducive to superconductivity.
posted by Eideteker at 8:15 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow- neat to see a post that gets the MeFi Libertarians to creep out from under their rocks and joins their voices in chorus.

Funny y'all should mention Santa Barbara; I used to live there, working for a social services agency. It's not commonly known, but Santa Barbara county isn't just the beachside resort town- there are lots of little towns in the back country, some of them up to two hours away by road. The only way we could begin serve the low-income people throughout the county, and keep in contact with our branch offices was by e-mail. Streaming video capability would have helped tremendously in training. If our clients had access even to e-mail we could have done a much better job of outreach.

Now consider this: government agencies are eager to put all of their services online. In addition, budget cuts are slashing office hours and staff. It's easy to see where this will lead in the not-too-distant future; nearly all government services will be available online, and offices will rarely be open for public visits. When that happens, having internet access will make a difference between access to the government or not. In this context, having internet access could be considered a necessity as much as freedom to have access to the materials needed to publish. In short, those with good internet access will be enfranchised; those without, won't be.

Of course no one should be surprised that the elite in Santa Barbara (and other places)should be against universal internet access. Enabling the brown people that are carefully kept in the background in SB to have more access to or voice in the local government might result in horrors like Targets or other shops for locals being built, at the expense of more pricey boutiques for rich tourists. And to the extent that people want to turn all of America into lovely neo-feudal Santa Barbara, it's not surprising that the idea of universal internet access is derided.

In other words: millions for iPods, not a cent for social services!
posted by happyroach at 8:30 AM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


That depends on whether you think that building a society in which people focus on what government owes them rather than what they can do for themselves constitutes "moving forward."

Rural Finns should...string up internet connections themselves? What? People can live without electricity too, but most governments who can make an attempt to provide it for the buying.
posted by desuetude at 9:44 AM on July 2, 2010


There sure is a lot of Friedman fellating going on in here. The Finns aren't equating broadband access with any of the Bill of Rights or anything. This is merely a mandate that companies ensure all citizens can access the web at broadband speeds. While costs are subsidized, people will still have to pay for it. It's not like the US government didn't subsidize the development of the modern internet. If we left capitalists to their own devices with no government mandates for development, there would be very little innovation on the kind of scale needed for such things like broadband.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:44 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


That depends on whether you think that building a society in which people focus on what government owes them rather than what they can do for themselves constitutes "moving forward."

Hahahahaha.

Brilliant. I love how this goes entirely against the entire concept of government in European social democracy. It's not the government owing me something, it's a community declaring that everyone should have access to a common resource.

To be fair to the USA about the broadband penetration stats posted above, a country the size of the USA is a lot harder to fully connect than one of Finland's size.
posted by knapah at 10:05 AM on July 2, 2010


> Brilliant. I love how this goes entirely against the entire concept of government in European social democracy.

I was also a bit surprised by the blind rhetoric being tossed around in this thread. You'd think some of these people were proponents of Juche or something. It's kind of disappointing how marginalized and evil the word "socialism" is to people in the US, even intelligent seeming folks. It doesn't have to be the dichotomous viewpoint of either I'm going to do it or the government is going to do it for me. It's more of a question of ensuring that large pools or resources are well stewarded and serve more than narrow corporate interests. Socialism, as it's actually practiced in Europe, is much more of a participatory system than our so-called democracy in the US. But, props to the American capitalist machine for criminalizing even the thought of socialist policies. I mean, just look how terrible it is for the Swedes!
posted by Burhanistan at 10:14 AM on July 2, 2010


To be fair to the USA about the broadband penetration stats posted above, a country the size of the USA is a lot harder to fully connect than one of Finland's size.

Sure, we're bigger, but we have a lot more money to pay for it and a lot more people to do the work.

Of course, that would involve private companies paying for private infrastructure instead of getting the government to build it for them and then handing it over, sooooo
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:16 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I lived in the USA for ten years and am a legal resident. I now live in Finland and am a legal resident. I probably should say something very intelligent but its friday night and I just got home from one of the funnest work parties to celebrate sunshine, summer and taking the month of July off to do nothing but veg in your country cottage so can't think of anything intelligent to say.
posted by infini at 11:05 AM on July 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


I have a feeling there will be a time not far from now where we will all look back and think "jesus christ, how could we have been so callous to deny people access to all-encompassing loving and forgiving brainternet"
posted by tehloki at 1:37 PM on July 2, 2010


Knapah wrote:

To be fair to the USA about the broadband penetration stats posted above, a country the size of the USA is a lot harder to fully connect than one of Finland's size.

I have my doubts about that! The US has relatively low number of inhabitants per square kilometer (28.4) despite its big cities and mogalopolies. Still, there is 17 inhabitants per square mile in Finland. I am pretty sure that it is this ratio rather than sheer size of the country that matters. I believe that constructing such a huge network would take longer for obvious reasons in the US, but it would be a smaller effort if calculated per inhabitant. In Finland it is just as you were constructing a broadband network in Alaska only.

As I stated earlier, it is this difficulty that drove politicians to come up with the law. I am sure we all agree (if nothing else by comparing different countries), the US politicians have never been overwhelmingly interested in investing and maintaining public infrastructure - let it be electric grid, roads / railroads or internet network.
posted by Doggiebreath at 4:24 AM on July 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess it might make them look like commies or sumpin'
posted by infini at 2:04 PM on July 9, 2010


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