- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.
Finland, yesterday, became the world’s first country to garuantee broadband access to all of its citizens as a legal right:
The legislation, which came into effect Thursday, forces telecom operators to provide a reasonably priced broadband connection with a downstream rate of at least one megabit per second (mbs) to every permanent residence and office, the Finnish government said in a statement.
Most of the coverage I’ve read of this describes Finland as “tech-savvy” or one of the world’s “most wired nations.” But broadband penetration data compiled by the OECD last December actually shows the homeland of Nokia is pretty average compared to other wealth countries:
At 26.7 percent penetration, Finland actually has pretty low penetration for Northern Europe — well behind its neighbors Norway and Sweden — and only 0.3 percent higher than the United States, a country with a much higher population, land area, and income inequality. Viewed in this context, Finland’s move to mandate broadband access by law is less a demonstration of technological superiority than a way to catch up.