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

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?

SHARE:
237

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, Broadband, Networking

About

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

237 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Taxes

    I already pay enough taxes for someone else's benifit.
    MoeFugger
    • Repeal the tax load

      @MoeFugger
      [i]I already pay enough taxes for someone else's benifit. [/i]

      All that need be said in a single sentence.
      klumper
      • RE: Would you accept increased taxes to give broadband to every citizen?

        @klumper
        I have to add that we do not want or need the government messing up the internet (forget "someone elses benefit," they can only screw it up for all of us). Seriously.
        Schoolboy Bob
      • RE: Would you accept increased taxes to give broadband to every citizen?

        @klumper Agree - that's a great sentence!
        ItsTheBottomLine
      • Did anyone read the BBC article?

        "The Finnish deal means that from 1 July all telecommunications companies will be obliged to provide all residents with broadband lines that can run at a minimum 1Mbps speed."
        They have to provide the line. Nowhere in the article does it say it is free to use, it is like the water line. If you want water you pay to have it, but they have to put it there in case you want to hook up.
        Alzie
      • RE: Would you accept increased taxes to give broadband to every citizen?

        @klumper
        enough said. no knew taxes for freeloaders benefits. if they want it let them earn it.
        vze29knp@...
      • RE: Would you accept increased taxes to give broadband to every citizen?

        @Bruce Eggum

        Open Broadband saves tax.
        With the connection free it would save the public millions. Public school students would not need published text saving millions. Access to community discussion, government information, Library?s etc. would all save tax money. Some features and programs such as movies and recreational programs could still be on a fee basis however they would be assessable to all, increasing their use
        eggy1943
      • RE: Would you accept increased taxes to give broadband to every citizen?

        @Bruce Eggum

        Open Broadband saves tax.
        With the connection free it would save the public millions. Public school students would not need published text saving millions. Access to community discussion, government information, Library?s etc. would all save tax money. Some features and programs such as movies and recreational programs could still be on a fee basis however they would be assessable to all, increasing their use
        eggy1943
      • You are all talking about free internet and the artical is about....

        @klumper requiring companies to provide the connection to the internet so that everyone who wants it can pay for it. I does not say anywhere that it is free. The law just state that the companies have to set up the broadband internet for everyone not give it to them. You try to get a company to get a broadband internet setup in rural areas you can't they refuse to do it even if you are will to pay for all the costs. That is what the law is about. There would not be any free internet.
        dougogd@...
    • Enough with the taxes already!

      @MoeFugger I agree with you 150%. Redistribution of wealth is becoming an uncomfortably acceptable term lately. I don't like it one bit. We seem to have become numb to all of it, but in some ways I can see why... they won't listen to us anyway.

      However, it is our duty as citizens to hold them to account. And if they won't listen to us during the year, then we have to "speak" to them again at the polls.
      SAStarling
      • RE: Would you accept increased taxes to give broadband to every citizen?

        @SAStarling
        The problem with trying to "speak" to them at the poles is that there are too many other people who go for this kind of crap. There is no real way to make a stand now and be heard by saying "no."

        It goes to what Johnny Vegas said, and we would be imprisoned or fined up the wazoo for not paying our dumb taxes we have right now anyway.
        It's just cryin shame to what we have come to now.
        tbensen@...
      • RE: Would you accept increased taxes to give broadband to every citizen?

        @SAStarling - You're just self centered and greedy.
        Welcome to the material world everybody.
        yobtaf
      • RE: Would you accept increased taxes to give broadband to every citizen?

        @SAStarling You don't have enough money to bother with.
        You're living in an angry little fantasy world where white people are on the verge of distinction.
        Chill out and stop fearing the future.
        Do something for somebody other than yourself.
        You'll see how good you'll feel.
        yobtaf
      • RE: Would you accept increased taxes to give broadband to every citizen?

        @SAStarling In a market economy, the larger an investment is, the higher its rate of return. This is due to both economies of scale and the increased range of investment opportunities. In addition to these economic forces, those who control greater amounts of capital within a society are able to participate more directly in shaping government policy, often in ways that further maximize their wealth. Thus, due to both economic and political realities within a market economy, it is a natural process for the wealthiest individuals and firms in a society to become disproportionately wealthier over time. In order to prevent the political instability resulting from the natural stratification of the populace into an ever smaller and wealthier aristocracy or moneyed class, and an ever larger working class, all free market democracies engage in progressive taxation and programs to enhance economic opportunity for the lower and middle classes.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_income_tax)

        This little argument is the basis of progressive taxation...which in effect redistributes wealth... It is the basis of our economic policies here in the US that made us the richest country in the world following WW2. It creates a large middle class and promotes stability.

        In 1980, we shifted our focus away from this... Reagan intervened and created a new cycle of short term bubbles which maximized the rich at the expense of the middle class.... it was reversed marginally in the middle 90s...and then dragged in an even more dramatic way by GW Bush's complete disregard for the long term economic impact giving the wealthy a huge tax gift... the raise in spending at the same time put a larger tax burden on us as a percentage...making us even less wealthy... Thus redistributing the wealth in the favor of the wealthy...creating a regressive redistribution of wealth. Or as I like to call it... being shafted.
        condelirios
      • RE: Would you accept increased taxes to give broadband to every citizen?

        @SAStarling How about higher taxes to invade Iraq, a country which had nothing to do with 9/11. How about higher taxes to rescue the banks. I think that subsidizing internet access is not such a bad idea... much better than the above two examples and it would cost only a fraction of that.
        prof123
    • Progressives = fiscal terrorists

      The biggest threat to this nation is not some bastard hiding in Afghanistan but these society-eroding grasshopper progressives that do nothing everyday but sitting on their butt thinking how much more money they can steal from hardworking ants.
      LBiege
      • RE: Would you accept increased taxes to give broadband to every citizen?

        @LBiege Bingo!
        ItsTheBottomLine
      • RE: Would you accept increased taxes to give broadband to every citizen?

        @LBiege
        I didn't know G W Bush was a progressive. Had a budget surplus until he took office and he pissed it away.
        Au1
      • @Au1: You don't understand

        @Au1: You don't undertand: It's a good thing when Republicans piss away our tax dollars for the benefit of their wealthy friends. When the Republicans are in control, we should all be proud to take it up the a$$ for their benefit. Remember, all that money they had out to their friends will eventually "trickle down" to the rest of us.

        Government spending is only bad when Democrats do it. That's when it becomes "stealing" and a "threat to the nation."

        Rick
        rick@...
      • RE: Would you accept increased taxes to give broadband to every citizen?

        @LBiege And who got us into Trillions of dollars into debt sending our guys over to find that bastard? And then go invade an entirely different country?
        Gandalf The Grey