As of July 1, Finland is the first country on the planet where every citizen has the right to high-speed broadband Internet access. According to msnbc.com, the goal is for every Finn to have a 100 mbps connection by 2015. The United States has set out similar goals in its National Broadband Plan, but observers say it will take many years before those goals become reality.
Finland's communication minister, Suvi Linden explained:
Internet services are no longer just for entertainment. Finland has worked hard to develop an information society and a couple of years ago we realized not everyone had access.
Of course, as writer Suzanne Choney noted, Finland has a population of 5.2 million, and roughly 4,000 homes that still need the faster connection. Moreover, the country only sees about 6 hours of daylight a day during the winter, so access to the Internet serves as a primary means of staying connected and "staying sane" during the rest of those winter hours.
The goals set out in the U.S. National Broadband Plan would make high-speed Internet available to those who still need it, but would do so over a 10-year span, rather than five. What's more, the Federal Communications Commission's authority in this area has been in question since the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decided the agency did not have the authority to tell Comcast how to manage its network traffic. That means parts of the plan are also up in the air.