1Mbps broadband becomes a legal right in Finland

Next target is 100Mbps by 2015

Every resident in Finland has a legal right to 1Mbps broadband access from today.

Under a new law passed by the country's government telecommunicatons companies will be obliged to provide Finns with an internet connection with a minimum speed of 1Mbps.

"We considered the role of the internet in Finns' everyday life. Internet services are no longer just for entertainment," Finland's communication minister Suvi Linden told the BBC.

"Finland has worked hard to develop an information society and a couple of years ago we realised not everyone had access."

The Finnish government said it will offer broadband access of 100Mbps to every resident by 2015. It is thought around 96 percent of population already has web access of 1Mbps or above.

The UK is trailing in Finland's wake, as is it thought just 73 percent of the population can get online. The previous Labour government revealed plans to offer every Brits 2Mbps internet connection. While the current coalition government has pledged to honour this promise, it won't be a legal obligation.

However, some concerns have been raised over how the ruling will affect the plan to temporarily cut-off illegal downloaders from the web in a bid to combat net piracy. the Finnish ruling has come in for some criticism as making internet connection a legal right, means

"We will have a policy where operators will send letters to illegal file-sharers but we are not planning on cutting off access," said Linden.

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Carrie-Ann Skinner

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