Thursday, October 15, 2009

While America Can't Get Health Care Right, Finland Makes Broadband Access A Legal Right

Okay, I'm always griping about how much better people in the other developed nations have it. So here's another gripe. While we here in America struggle to come to grips with the fact that our government is too dysfunctional to provide us with universal health care as a basic human right, nations that long ago took care of health care are now making access to the internet "a basic human right":

According to the report, every person in Finland (a little over 5 million people, according to a 2009 estimate) will have the right of access to a 1Mb broadband connection starting in July. And they may ultimately gain the right to a 100Mb broadband connection.

Just more than a year ago, Finland said it would make a 100Mb broadband connection a legal right by the end of 2015. Wednesday's announcement is considered an intermediate step.

France, one of a few countries that has made Internet access a human right, did so earlier this year. France's Constitutional Council ruled that Internet access is a basic human right. That said, it stopped short of making "broadband access" a legal right. Finland says that it's the first country to make broadband access a legal right.

Other European countries are expected to follow suit soon, including the United Kingdom. Imagine being legally entitled to 100-megabit internet … Man, now would that be awesome or what? Now stop imagining, this is America, not Finland. . . Finland already has free universal healthcare, daycare, and education at all levels. Free broadband Internet seems to be a natural extension for them.

It's called getting something in return for your taxes. Something besides roads for dinosaur automobiles, infamously bad schools, and libraries that are only open when you are in school or at work. Okay, that last one may only be a problem in dirt poor red states like Tennessee, states that support themselves by imposing a Food Tax even on those who struggle to put food on the table.

Internet access and health care are basic human rights? Bah humbug! I'd settle for a decent education being a basic human right in the land I live in.