Would you accept increased taxes to give broadband to every citizen?

Summary:Should governments mandate access to broadband? Should every citizen, as an inalienable right, have access to Hulu, Skype, and an unlimited supply of YouTube?

Just how important is broadband to society? How valuable is to to the running of modern civilization that every citizen have the chance to watch Jizz in My Pants (85.5 million views) at least once?

Will the world be a better place if every citizen could watch little Charlie bite little Harry's finger (205.8 million views) at least one more time? Will we get world piece if every person could just watch the horrid Shakira Parody (33 million views) in the privacy of their own home?

Should governments mandate access to broadband? Should every citizen, as an inalienable right, have access to Hulu, Skype, and an unlimited supply of Jizz in Their Pants?

This is not a question the United States is yet willing to answer.

To one country, though, broadband is that important. To Finland, broadband is as important to civilization as the right to vote.

According to the BBC, as of July 1, every Finnish citizen will have a "legal right" to a 1Mbps broadband feed -- whether they can afford it or not. If a Fin can't afford to pay for the broadband, the government will apparently provide it for free.

This opens up a lot more questions: does every Finnish citizen get a free computer? Or a free iPad? Or some other device for accessing the Internet?

What happens if Finnish citizens go beyond the relative safety of YouTube and watch videos that might cause, you know, messy pants -- and even more messy computers? Is the Finnish government guaranteeing a geek to fix every computer?

Will there soon be mandatory geek service in Finland like there's mandatory military service in Israel?

What about file-sharing pirates? If you download too much music or yet another copy of Avatar (how could you possibly want to see that bore-fest again?), will Finland cut you off?

No, as it turns out. If you pirate music or movies, according to Finland's communication minister Suvi Linden. "We will have a policy where operators will send letters to illegal file-sharers but we are not planning on cutting off access," she said.

For pirates, that's bound to lead to (so sorry!) Jizz in Their Pants.

Topics: Telcos, Networking


In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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