Finns have legal right to broadband – should India follow suit?
In a first of its kind legislation by any country, Finland has made broadband internet access a legal right for all its citizens.
As per the new law that came into effect from July 1, Finnish telecom companies will have to provide its citizens broadband lines with a minimum speed of 1Mbps.
Media reports say up to 96 percent of Finland’s population is already online and only about 4,000 homes will need to be connected to comply with the new rule.
In India, the world’s second-biggest and the fastest-growing mobile market with more than 600 million users, the broadband penetration (connections per 100 people) in the country is extremely low at 0.74.
Only 71 million of India’s billion-plus population claimed to have used the internet in 2009, according to an I-Cube report.
India has only recently come up with a legislation promising the right to education to all its children.
Living in the information age, the role government-sanctioned access to the wired world can play in developing India is beyond imagination.
But then, such access is also subject to factors other than the will of a government. They would depend on rural electrification and basic access to computers. How practical is the ‘right to internet access’ for India?