Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Future thinking in Finland

Last week Finland became the first country in the world (apparently, I can’t be 100% sure) to mandate broadband access for all of its citizens.  The first step for Finland’s population of just over 5 million is a guarantee next year of a 1 Mbps broadband connection, but this is just a beginning step. By 2015, the mandate is for a 100 Mbps connection for everyone.

To put this in perspective, the average broadband connection in the U.S., for those who get it, is 1-3 Mbps (the lower level is for DSL, the higher for cable connections).  But of course this is not mandated.  In the U.S., everyone is entitled to telephone service, which could get you a dial-up Internet connection (not very useful these days).  In Finland, everyone is entitled to a high-speed connection to the Internet.  That is an interesting difference.

I saw an interesting comment that fits this well.  This writer said the Finnish action: 
brings to mind the favorite slogan of Dewang Mehta, ex-NASSCOM chief (Indian National Association of Software and Service Companies) - the basic needs of every Indian are “roti, kapda, makaan, bijli, aur bandwidth."  Mehta took a very popular Indian phrase describing basic wants (food, clothing, and shelter) and added electricity and bandwidth.
Very forward thinking.  As in Finland.

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