Fast Internet access becomes a legal right in Finland:

Finland has become the first country in the world to declare broadband Internet access a legal right.

The move by Finland is aimed at bringing Web access to rural areas, where access has been limited.

The move by Finland is aimed at bringing Web access to rural areas, where access has been limited.

Starting in July, telecommunication companies in the northern European nation will be required to provide all 5.2 million citizens with Internet connection that runs at speeds of at least 1 megabit per second.

The one-megabit mandate, however, is simply an intermediary step, said Laura Vilkkonen, the legislative counselor for the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

The country is aiming for speeds that are 100 times faster — 100 megabit per second — for all by 2015.

“We think it’s something you cannot live without in modern society. Like banking services or water or electricity, you need Internet connection,” Vilkkonen said.

Finland is one of the most wired in the world; about 95 percent of the population have some sort of Internet access, she said. But the law is designed to bring the Web to rural areas, where geographic challenges have limited access until now.

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