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1Mb Broadband Access Becomes Legal Right In Finland

samzenpus posted about 5 years ago | from the give-me-broadband-or-give-me-death dept.

The Internet 875

An anonymous reader writes "Starting next July, every person in Finland will have the right to a one-megabit broadband connection, according to the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Finland is the world's first country to create laws guaranteeing broadband access. The Finnish people are also legally guaranteed a 100Mb broadband connection by the end of 2015."

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Bastards! (1)

Ovspec (1649189) | about 5 years ago | (#29751583)

Bastards! I still only have 215 kbit internet!

Re:Bastards! (1)

XPeter (1429763) | about 5 years ago | (#29751607)

215k? LOL

It's a miracle if I can get my FIOS router to even work.

Re:Bastards! (5, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29751699)

This news has been written quite loosely around the news sites - original article (in finnish) [www.hs.fi] states that ISP's must be capable of offering reasonably priced, atleast 1Mb broadband to every house. During this year Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority will state who those ISP's are that must be able to provide the services (probably the largest ones). So it's not free, like many seem to think - just reasonably priced (probably around 20-50e/month)

This part yet is not really that interesting since it's already pretty much common place.

However the law also states that the speed of the line must be atleast 75% of the said one during 24 hour measurement period. And what's more interesting is that by 2015 it will be 100mbit. Even though this is already available in the largest cities, it will mean major infrastructure development from the ISP's in other areas.

Oh and btw, no ISP in Finland has transfer limits or such crap. Not even mobile operators, who offer unlimited 5Mbit 3G for something like 30e/month.

Hopefully this also means that those three-strike laws wont be possible, since getting broadband access should be a legal right.

Re:Bastards! (2, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29751725)

Seems slashdot didn't like nordic characters - proper link [www.hs.fi]

Re:Bastards! (2, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 5 years ago | (#29751981)

Non-ASCII characters do not belong in an URL.

Re:Bastards! (4, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | about 5 years ago | (#29752015)

I'm not going to try reading Finnish, but I'm guessing this is like many other regulations that granted monopolies have to deal with in European countries. For example here in Norway to get digital TV broadcast rights they had to increase coverage to almost everyone, even if you decided to hide between two mountains. You don't pay the full cost of delivering electricity and phone lines to a remotely located home. Same with mobile broadband, to get the 3G license they had to commit to offering to some areas that couldn't get broadband, I know because it happened near a relative's cabin - there's a few residential houses there and they were setting up mobile broadband for regulation compliance, no way in hell that was profitable.

I know most Americans get mental anguish just thinking about it, but it's not so bad as it sounds. The businesses usually has some form of compensation agreement, or consider it part of paying the license fee except in labor not cash. It's basically the state subsidizing private build-out to areas that otherwise wouldn't get served. Of course that's a redistribution issue, but then you have to look at it along with every other tax, some hitting rural areas more than urban areas and vice versa. The whole angle of considering this some sort of legal right is a bit fishy though, yeah it's an economic requirement to provide service but there's still lots of reasons they can kick you off like non-payment, violating the terms of service or whatever. But it's still a pretty big step.

Re:Bastards! (3, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 5 years ago | (#29751965)

Bastards! I still only have 215 kbit internet!

It's okay, I expect congress will pass similar legislation here in the US next year sometime.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHaha...

(cries)

Re:Bastards! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29752075)

I thought they already did it. Mandatory broadband available for all citizens. Where broadband was legally redefined to 28.8kbps.

Meanwhile in America (3, Informative)

rolfwind (528248) | about 5 years ago | (#29751603)

Don't they always chant population density as to reason why many people are stuck with dial-up?

Re:Meanwhile in America (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | about 5 years ago | (#29751671)

No one in America is 'stuck' with dial up.

Re:Meanwhile in America (5, Informative)

rolfwind (528248) | about 5 years ago | (#29751789)

http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Hey-NY-Times-Broadband-Coverage-Gaps-Are-Not-Hooey-100382 [dslreports.com]

Unless you talking about expensive satellite.

Re:Meanwhile in America (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | about 5 years ago | (#29751837)

Expensive may be relative but it doesn't constitute 'stuck'. Plenty of people could be lined up to claim dial up is expensive.

Re:Meanwhile in America (4, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | about 5 years ago | (#29751955)

Satellite is a high-latency service up to 500 to 900ms one way.

The result is that it's slow/unusable for many types of applications, which can't handle a 1 second round-trip delay.

In other words, it's not "broadband".

You won't be comfortable trying to use VoIP over satellite, and streaming media won't work at all without a stout amount of pre-buffering.

Re:Meanwhile in America (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | about 5 years ago | (#29751791)

Except for the ones that are, of course.

There are a number of small villages in Alaska that can barely get Dialup, and nothing else is available.

I'm sure there are also some small country areas in the continental US that are so spread out the telecoms and cable co.'s have not seen any reason to string broadband infrastructure to every house.

I remember when the the Analog to Digital TV changeover was happening a lot of rural people were upset because they did not have access to any form of cable TV, and digital didn't bounce as well as analog which meant they'd loose all TV access, or some such. Anyway, if they can't get cable, they probably can't get broadband internet either.

Re:Meanwhile in America (1)

Lulfas (1140109) | about 5 years ago | (#29751835)

The question then becomes, is it fair for government or businesses to subsidize people living in the middle of no where?

Re:Meanwhile in America (2, Interesting)

Cryacin (657549) | about 5 years ago | (#29751917)

Are they growing our food? It may not be fair, but it probably would be smart.

Re:Meanwhile in America (5, Insightful)

drizek (1481461) | about 5 years ago | (#29751923)

Yes, the population in America is generally pretty dense, so we tend to lag behind the rest of the world.

Wow. (5, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 5 years ago | (#29751605)

"Reasonable speed access to free porn" has now become a basic human right?

Re:Wow. (1)

some_guy_88 (1306769) | about 5 years ago | (#29751661)

Right. I'm off to Finland.

Re:Wow. (1, Troll)

imamac (1083405) | about 5 years ago | (#29751675)

People have a "right" to anything they want. Didn't you know that?

Re:Wow. (4, Insightful)

stinerman (812158) | about 5 years ago | (#29751745)

They do if enough people get together and agree that they do. Such is called government.

Re:Wow. (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | about 5 years ago | (#29751911)

They do if enough people get together and agree that they do. Such is called government.

What happens if enough people get together and agree that certain people don't have rights? Such is called the tyranny of the majority.

Re:Wow. (1)

stinerman (812158) | about 5 years ago | (#29751997)

People can organize themselves however they see fit. Some of the time they make bad decisions and decisions we might not like. That doesn't imply that they don't have the ability to do so.

A limited, republican form of government isn't something everyone agrees is a good thing. You and I happen to agree that it is, but some people really don't mind the tyranny of the majority too much. If indeed that form of government is inherently superior, everyone will get on board one day. If not, it's just different strokes for different folks.

Re:Wow. (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about 5 years ago | (#29751959)

From: Finland Telecom Customer Service Manager

Dear Sir,

Your install has been scheduled for next month. Please accept our humble apologies. We are attempting to clear the backlog of new application as soon as possible.

In the meantime, we hope that the strippers we have sent over to your house will serve your needs until your broadband order is complete. Again, please acept our most sincere apologies.

Lucky (3, Interesting)

TheKidWho (705796) | about 5 years ago | (#29751611)

Lucky them.

Here in NYC, Time Warner just released a 50/5 Mb DOCSIS 3.0 plan... For a whopping cost of $99.95/month.

Re:Lucky (4, Informative)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | about 5 years ago | (#29751707)

If that's supposed to be bad, I'm jealous.

Here I get 3mb cable with a 20gb monthly cap for $70 per month, and it's the fastest and highest value I can get for straight internet.

I could get 10mb with no cap from the same company for about $80 per month, but I would also have to buy a cable and phone service package. The total would be around $200 or so per month.

You've got it easy in NYC, and I know there are still some places in my state where you can't get better than dialup speeds, and if you can they are outrageous.

Re:Lucky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29751853)

Where are you? Australia?

Re:Lucky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29752065)

i would guess so, worst part about being is Aus is the internet connection :(

Re:Lucky (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | about 5 years ago | (#29752071)

Really? Here in Ohio you can get 15 Mb/s for $57 a month from Time Warner.

Good to see (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29751623)

that our ~75% tax rate is funding the worthwhile entitlement of blazing 1Mb/s connection!!

Re:Good to see (1)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29751827)

that our ~75% tax rate is funding the worthwhile entitlement of blazing 1Mb/s connection!!

Exactly. This isn't really such an amazing news that people seem to think of it - it just means that the rest of population will need to pay the extra costs in taxes that goes into building the infrastructure for the 1-2% of people that have some stupid need to live in center of nowhere.

I understand these modern times and all... (1, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | about 5 years ago | (#29751631)

... but seriously, how is access to a broadband Internet connection a legal right? Somebody please explain this to me, because the article doesn't give any supporting logic.

I need air to breathe, food to eat, clothes to wear, and a place to sleep at night. As much as I enjoy working in I.T. for a living, I do not need Internet access to survive.

Re:I understand these modern times and all... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29751655)

There are many legal rights that you don't need to survive. One of them (in most western countries) is the right to vote. It is a legal right as soon as someone makes a law stating that it is. Simple as that.

Re:I understand these modern times and all... (0, Flamebait)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29751783)

That and the fact that nordic countries pay shitload amounts of taxes so that the services in general are free or atleast cheap to people. Healthcare is pretty much fully paid with taxes, along with countless of other things. This is not always a good thing, because Finns need to pay a lot for shit they dont need. This also means paying the living of people who are too lazy to go to work (they get like 400-700e per month from goverment).

I guess this is another such "legal right" that is there to make sure even the ones living in centre of nowhere get the internet and everyone else pays for the infrastructure and so on. Pretty much a nanny state.

Re:I understand these modern times and all... (4, Insightful)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | about 5 years ago | (#29751913)

Pretty much a nanny state.

"Yes you are free, free without a doubt. If you do not have the price of a meal you are free to go without." -- George Sawchuck (It's okay if you've never heard of him)

There's a difference between excessive meddling in a citizens life and providing for your citizens.

Re:I understand these modern times and all... (1)

egr (932620) | about 5 years ago | (#29752067)

Tell that to my medical bills :P But generally -- yes, they don't leave people to die on the street.... I think.... About paying for the lazy ones is also true in some part, but I wonder if it's going to stop soon, since there are many people who are exploiting this

Re:I understand these modern times and all... (2, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | about 5 years ago | (#29751667)

I need air to breathe, food to eat, clothes to wear, and a place to sleep at night.

If you live in Finland you'll probably also want some means of warming your dwelling.

Re:I understand these modern times and all... (2, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | about 5 years ago | (#29751759)

You're absolutely right. With Internet access guaranteed, I could warm my bedroom with the waste heat from my computer, cable modem, and router.

Re:I understand these modern times and all... (3, Interesting)

White Flame (1074973) | about 5 years ago | (#29751687)

This allows the government to interact with the population online, without anybody having an excuse of no net access.

Re:I understand these modern times and all... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29751709)

You don't need it to survive, but you do need it to participate in a modern democracy.
    Look at all the access to your government you lose without internet. Libraries are losing funding--the one in my hometown closed last year. Many universities make you give up constitutional rights in order to enter them--those libraries are out. And to boot, they aren't accessible to much of the country.

And realistically--I'm glad you don't need it in order to survive. I have some minor skill with gardening--but I'm not confident I could grow my own food successfully, and I'm definitely no good at hunting. Not that there's any land near me I could hunt on. I'm an IT guy--and I need a computer, books, internet, IRC, and google in order to continue my professional advancement and stay within reasonable distance of the top of my competitive food chain. You kill the internet, and well...I've got enough cash I wouldn't go hungry or homeless for a few years (at least, until I went to school immediately trying to find training for another job...)--but I would be royally screwed.

No--if you're serious about running an open democracy, people need a *right* to the internet. As it is, all the other media out there--be it Fox, NPR, CNN and even the BBC...they're just...they suffer from horrible selection bias.

Re:I understand these modern times and all... (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 5 years ago | (#29751741)

Not the USA?
The rest of the world is not going to wait for some US telco to crunch the numbers and carpet bag them.
Internet access can be seen as useful for older people, disabled, medical advice, teaching, voting ...
It is of use to the state, the public and might just help grow a smart dynamic population.
Some parts of the world are putting tax credits and laws in place to move forward on a national level, not just for gated communities and $ in the city.
Private corps can float of top of this roll out too. Its win, win, win.
Enjoy your basic 20C rights.

Re:I understand these modern times and all... (2, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | about 5 years ago | (#29751769)

Who pays for this human right of broadband Internet access in Finland? Is it completely subsidized by the government?

Re:I understand these modern times and all... (1)

esrobinson (1028500) | about 5 years ago | (#29751811)

... but seriously, how is access to a broadband Internet connection a legal right? Somebody please explain this to me, because the article doesn't give any supporting logic.

They made a law that says everyone gets it. Isn't that all something needs to be a legal right?

Re:I understand these modern times and all... (2, Insightful)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about 5 years ago | (#29751845)

Perhaps a better question is "Who do they plan to coerce to provide this 'right'?" Internet access doesn't just grow on trees, you know.

I know they're demanding that it be "reasonably priced", not "free", but given that no one has stepped up thus far to offer it at these "reasonable" prices it's fair to conclude that doing so is not cost-effective. That means it has to be subsidized, which means someone--probably a lot of someones--are going to end up forced to pay for services they don't need or want or even believe they benefit from, whatever others might say.

Re:I understand these modern times and all... (1)

jfdawes (254678) | about 5 years ago | (#29751903)

The only thing that this being a "right" gets you is that if there is an ISP that services your area, they cannot refuse to connect you, the service must be reasonably priced and the connection must be at least this good 75% of the time.

This is really just establishing a legal minimum level of service than an ISP can provide in Finland.

No, you don't need the right to Internet Access to survive. You also don't need the right to vote to survive either, yet you have it. You have the right to an awful lot of things you probably know nothing about, think are entirely useless and never exercise.

Re:I understand these modern times and all... (1)

Barny (103770) | about 5 years ago | (#29751977)

Its likely more to be considered a "utillity" more than a right, so if you own/rent a house, its required to be able to be powered, have a telephone, water and now internet.

Re:I understand these modern times and all... (1)

TheSambassador (1134253) | about 5 years ago | (#29752021)

I'd say that it probably has something to do with the incredible importance of the Internet in the modern world.

Seriously, imagine how disadvantaged you'd be without internet these days. Should you be forced to use snail mail or drive an hour to be able to communicate with someone just because you live outside of where an ISP has decided to offer service? What other motivations can the government provide to private companies to expand their networks? While I really have no idea, I'd doubt that their government isn't going to help pay for the cost of these expansions.

Being denied internet essentially cuts you off from the rest of the world. While some people don't care, there are plenty of others that can't move to a place where it IS available, yet need a somewhat accessible connection to be able to function.

Re:I understand these modern times and all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29752029)

It's a right now eh? People fail to realize that reasonable priced is a matter of perspective. Someone who makes 100k a year may see 200$ a month reasonable, and someone who makes min wage and likes to party may seen over 10$ as unreasonable. I think they fail to see the slippery slop here.

Okay, broad band access is a right. Ah, but what if I don't own a computer or my has broken down. If my computer no longer works, will they find a way to twist that as my right to broadband access being denied as I cannot access it ven if it's becasue of my own faulty equipment? Will they replace equipment damaged by home users and their lack of understanding of how software and hardware work?

I feel down the road if this becomes mainstream, the next right fight will be the right to have a functional computer(I mean hey, it's not my fault if I click yes to winning 10000000$ for being the 100 millionth vistor.), which will mean tech support expensive, and hardware/software maintinance. We can't limit what the computer can do if it drops to that way or privacy/freedrom rights advocates will get in the way.

I could accept if they required by law that service providers provide an equal service across a geographical area, but I think it's streatching it way too far and making a huge can of worms by making it a human right.

Re:I understand these modern times and all... (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 5 years ago | (#29752047)

It becomes one when they pass the law.

I think "legal right" is a strong word to use to describe what is happening; however.

It's more like "legal requirement to sellbuy 1Mb broadband" at a fair, affordable price, to any home.

It's more like a price control; or a government trying to regulate industry that wants to not sell service (when it's not profitable to).

The US has laws like this too.. in areas where there is an Incumbent Telephone company (descended from Ma Bell), the incumbent generally isnt't allowed to refuse random houses plain telephone service, and in many cases, they aren't even allowed to charge a higher monthly rate, or surcharge the subscriber such as for being farther away from the central office, requiring more maintenance on their line.

This is crazy (-1, Redundant)

DaMattster (977781) | about 5 years ago | (#29751635)

I can understand basic inalienable rights like food, shelter, clothing, and adequate healthcare. But a right to have internet access? I can only imagine what this will do to Finland's taxes. While a noble idea, it is utopian. If people want internet access there are forums like libraries which provide the access free of charge. I do not mind paying taxes to support basic inalienable rights, but when it comes to these extras, I have to draw the line. I am also not an advocate of free education above high school as I believe the onus is on the individual to take and bare some responsibility on their own lives. I'll admit, I did not RTFA this time but the mere mention of internet access being a right is an example of liberalism gone horribly wrong.

Re:This is crazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29751657)

I can understand basic inalienable rights like food, shelter, clothing, and adequate healthcare. But a right to have internet access? I can only imagine what this will do to Finland's taxes. While a noble idea, it is utopian. If people want internet access there are forums like libraries which provide the access free of charge. I do not mind paying taxes to support basic inalienable rights, but when it comes to these extras, I have to draw the line. I am also not an advocate of free education above high school as I believe the onus is on the individual to take and bare some responsibility on their own lives. I'll admit, I did not RTFA this time but the mere mention of internet access being a right is an example of liberalism gone horribly wrong.

I can understand basic inalienable rights like food, shelter, clothing, and adequate healthcare. But a right to have internet access? I can only imagine what this will do to Finland's taxes. While a noble idea, it is utopian. If people want internet access there are forums like libraries which provide the access free of charge. I do not mind paying taxes to support basic inalienable rights, but when it comes to these extras, I have to draw the line. I am also not an advocate of free education above high school as I believe the onus is on the individual to take and bare some responsibility on their own lives. I'll admit, I did not RTFA this time but the mere mention of internet access being a right is an example of liberalism gone horribly wrong.

Lets hope you stay living in the US of A then.

Re:This is crazy (2, Insightful)

some_guy_88 (1306769) | about 5 years ago | (#29751781)

Lets hope you stay living in the US of A then.

Second that. People who come from disadvantaged families who want post-highschool education should have the opportunity to get it and not just be told "no, you've got to take and bare some responsibility on your own life".

Re:This is crazy (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | about 5 years ago | (#29751939)

People who come from disadvantaged families...

That's a BS red-herring. Work hard, keep your shit straight, and you'll be able to save up for school. People expect far too much far too soon, and rewarding people for coming from a "disadvantaged" home encourages them to stay "disadvantaged", and to teach their kids how to be "disadvantaged" so they can get free stuff from people who feel sorry for them too. And "disadvantaged" in this case usually means "irresponsible shitheads leaching off the government".

I know from personal experience, there is a section of my family that is "disadvantaged" - the sad thing is my aunt has finally (after 30 some odd years) realized she has doomed her two sweet grandkids to the same life she doomed her own kids to, and she is nearly powerless to stop the cycle.

Wake up people, supporting education with grants and scholorships and low intrest loans is wonderful, but this attitude that the "poor and downtrodden" need constant support to do anything in life just keeps them poor and downtrodden! They must have the right to try, the right to succeed, and the right to fail. None of those three should ever be forced uppon them, and success should never be mandated. Otherwise they will forever live in mediocrity at the expense of society as a whole.

Re:This is crazy (2, Insightful)

Ironsides (739422) | about 5 years ago | (#29751983)

It's called student loans, scholarships and jobs. I know people who have managed to pay for there entire college education with nothing but scholarships and one job while going to college full time. Nowhere was any government paying for them to go to school.

Re:This is crazy (1)

Cryacin (657549) | about 5 years ago | (#29752051)

Almost second that. People who come from *all* families who want post-highschool education should have the opportunity to get it and not just be told "no, you've got to take and bare some responsibility on your own life.

Otherwise you just screw the middle class.

Re:This is crazy (2, Informative)

Hijacked Public (999535) | about 5 years ago | (#29751715)

Once you've found the time to RTFA you might also want to read up on the differences between legal rights and natural rights. Also might want to throw social rights in there as well, if you believe in those sorts of things.

It really is good to know from where your various rights descend.

Re:This is crazy (4, Informative)

rapu (1656863) | about 5 years ago | (#29751747)

(My) first post, from Finland. It doesn't seem that this connection is supposed to be FREE - just that some companies are obliged to provide such connections (at least 1 mbps, the local definition of "broadband") throughout the country. In other words, you would still have to pay for it. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I haven't seen any mention of there being no charge.

Re:This is crazy (1)

4D6963 (933028) | about 5 years ago | (#29751749)

They can, and they want everyone to have access to this. Finland isn't the USA, they can afford to concern themselves with things that to you must seem derisory. Also, this [wikipedia.org] .

I can only imagine what this will do to Finland's taxes.

lol what?? What does it have to do with anything? If they're going to make it a right that means everyone is supposed to get it already. I don't see what sort of impact making it into law would have on anything. Are you one of those nutty libertarian guys who's obsessed with taxes?

Re:This is crazy (1)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29751871)

You must not be from Finland. This will go directly in to our already huge taxes, and will mostly be any good for maybe 1% of the population in center of nowhere.

Re:This is crazy (1)

4D6963 (933028) | about 5 years ago | (#29752053)

I still don't see how it's supposed to raise taxes, but by all means don't let that get in the way of your ranting. And if you had RTFA (I know, I know..) you would know that this wouldn't be for remote populations.

Re:This is crazy (4, Insightful)

value_added (719364) | about 5 years ago | (#29751847)

I can understand basic inalienable rights like food, shelter, clothing, and adequate healthcare. But a right to have internet access?

The way I see it is that if you take your list of inalienable rights and classify them as "human rights", you can classify health care, internet access, etc. as "societal rights" (those rights granted by the state for their citizens).

internet access being a right is an example of liberalism gone horribly wrong

Do you mean liberalism as defined by the various political parties and interest groups in the US, or Liberalism, generally? Either way, I don't think that term is useful or productive, especially when the context here is Finland.

In the US, the crowds shout "We insist on being free so don't dare try and give us any stuff", while in Europe, it's "Keep giving us free stuff or we'll bring you down!" Left-wing? Perhaps. But I suspect one side is getting a good deal, while the other ... well, what's the state of broadband in the US? ;-)

Re:This is crazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29751879)

RTFA and get back to us before going off on some "gubermint taxes are all evil" rant. Awaiting your apology

Really? (-1, Flamebait)

benjamindees (441808) | about 5 years ago | (#29751921)

You really understand a "right" to "adequate healthcare"? What might be the limit to this "right"? I mean, does a 100 year old person have as much of a "right" to some organ replacement surgery or expensive cancer drugs as a 6 year old? What constitutes "adequate" care? Is there any "right" to quality of life or freedom or recreation, or just a "right" to life itself and working for it's perpetual extension?

I mean, I understand exactly where negative rights end. The right to freedom of speech, to religion, liberty, to self-defense and travel. They all have the same, very reasonable limit. And if by right to "healthcare", you mean the right to ingest whatever poisons you think will enhance or extend your life, great. Go for it. But somehow I don't think that's what you mean. I think you mean you'd like the "right" to force others to provide you with healthcare, the positive "right" to healthcare.

So I'll tell you what the limit is: there is no limit. It's simply retarded, and ill-thought-out. A "right" to healthcare would just ensure that 90% of people are drafted into working to provide each other with infinite lifespans. We all spend our time working to fill the world with the elderly and infirm. It's absolutely not an endeavour in which I will willingly participate. It's a dystopia of weak, short-sighted, selfish fools imposing their stupidity on each other.

So if you truly value your health, don't even think of imposing your vision of health on me. I am already healthier than the vast majority of the proponents of a "right" to healthcare ever will be.

Re:Really? (0, Flamebait)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | about 5 years ago | (#29752019)

I mean, does a 100 year old person have as much of a "right" to some organ replacement surgery or expensive cancer drugs as a 6 year old?

You haven't been paying close enough attention to the debate, they cover this. In fact, the sweet spot is 18-34, with coverage shooting up around age 10 and shooting down around 65-70. I'd say under Obama-care the 6 year old would only be doing slightly better than a 100 year old.

And yup, I completely agree with you. Most people who currently don't have health insurance refused the health insurance offered at work, or are illegal immigrants (there are about 12-15 million of those). We are going through all this nonsense for about 10-15 million people. This is overkill.

Re:Really? (1)

Aris Katsaris (939578) | about 5 years ago | (#29752083)

You really think you understand where negative rights end? Imagine the person who buys all the property around your home and fordids you to cross into his property. Let's see how well your "right to travel" works then.

If you consider property to be a "negative right", then certain other negative rights become merely theoretical and can be violated in practice by people owning the air you breathe, and the earth you walk upon. Even freedom of speech can be violated in the name of "intellectual property".

The distinction between positive and negative rights is to some extent arbitrary, as even the hardest core of negative rights need be protected and supported with positive rights that will ensure that other people won't abuse *their* negative rights.

Liberty is violated in practice when Equality is absent. Equality is violated in practice when Solidarity is absent.

Re:This is crazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29751993)

I am also not an advocate of free education above high school as I believe the onus is on the individual to take and bare some responsibility on their own lives.

If you truly believe that, then you'd bare [sic] the responsibility for your failure to take advantage of the free education you were offered through high school?

Re:This is crazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29752027)

"basic inalienable rights like food, shelter, clothing, and adequate healthcare"

Hmmm . . . . I can't find anything about those in either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. Maybe you meant legal or civil rights instead of inalienable ('unalienable' being the term used in the document).

Need does not create a right. And remember, if government made the law to give you a particular "right", then government can just as easily take it away.

But what does this actually mean? (2, Informative)

Mr. Roadkill (731328) | about 5 years ago | (#29751641)

In the convenience of your own home, or similar to the right to access clean drinking water you find in some places?

The wording is something to the effect of no household being more than 2 kilometres from a high-speed connection. Are we talking about a pipe to the house, or having to line up to use the communal pump and carry your buckets of bits back home with you?

Re:But what does this actually mean? (1)

Cryacin (657549) | about 5 years ago | (#29751743)

Are we talking about a pipe to the house, or having to line up to use the communal pump and carry your buckets of bits back home with you?

Gives a whole new outlook to the term Sneaker Net.

Re:But what does this actually mean? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 5 years ago | (#29751805)

Like the postal service or water company or electric company, they will have to roll out "something" to all.
If not the gov finds another corp who will :)
Rewire the Digital Loop Carriers (RIM) and its fine.
If its new, FTTN, FTTH to meet basic law.

That's for me! But... (4, Funny)

tchdab1 (164848) | about 5 years ago | (#29751643)

I'll wait to move there until they establish the right to winters that don't drop below zero.

Re:That's for me! But... (5, Funny)

Facegarden (967477) | about 5 years ago | (#29751677)

I'll wait to move there until they establish the right to winters that don't drop below zero.

Trust me, they never have fewer than zero winters per year.
-Taylor

Re:That's for me! But... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29751891)

No, we usually have just two. The other is called "summer".

Re:That's for me! But... (3, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29751887)

That might be soon enough. Seems global warming is doing it's job, as last winter and a few before that there was maybe couple of weeks with snow - long gone are the >-20c winter days.

Re:That's for me! But... (1)

Ironsides (739422) | about 5 years ago | (#29752003)

That might be soon enough. Seems global warming is doing it's job, as last winter and a few before that there was maybe couple of weeks with snow - long gone are the >-20c winter days.

It never gets above -20c? Wow, Finland must be another one of those screwy places where global warming causes it to get colder.

Not a right (2, Insightful)

JefftheCpE (95392) | about 5 years ago | (#29751647)

A right is something that cannot be taken from you, not an obligation on someone else to provide something to you.

If your rights are an imposition on someone else you're doing it wrong.

Re:Not a right (5, Insightful)

Rising Ape (1620461) | about 5 years ago | (#29751685)

Rights are always an imposition on someone else. The right to free speech obliges others to tolerate offensive speech. The right to a fair trial obliges others to provide you with one. The right to bear arms (a popular one with people who advocate arguments such as yours) increases the risks of death from gunshot wounds for other people. The right to own property denies others the use of that property.

The question is whether the rights are worth the imposition.

Re:Not a right (1)

JefftheCpE (95392) | about 5 years ago | (#29751935)

Free speech does not impose anything on anyone. No one has to listen to what you say or respond. You have the right to say what you want, but the government isn't responsible for buying you your soapbox or making people listen.

Increased chance of being shot is a (negative) consequence of the right to bear arms, not an imposition on anyone else in providing you that right.

Who does one complain to when a backhoe cuts their internet connection? The Human Rights Commission?

Re:Not a right (1)

Rising Ape (1620461) | about 5 years ago | (#29752069)

Free speech requires that people tolerate your speech, rather than say bash you over the head with the nearest object. Now that may indeed by a *justifiable* restriction on other people, but it's a restriction nevertheless. In fact, since actually enforcing this requires a police force and justice system, it's even an imposition on the general taxpayer.

Consequence, imposition. You say potato... Being shot sounds like a pretty severe imposition to me. Having to pay taxes is just a consequence, too, if you want to define it like that.

Now, I'm not saying that an internet connection should be a right. But there's no *fundamental* distinction.

Re:Not a right (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about 5 years ago | (#29751713)

A right is an ability or status that society thinks everyone should have. That may well require someone else to provide it for you, but that cost should be born fairly by society as a whole. By your definition nothing is a right- anything can be taken, including your life if someone wishes to.

Re:Not a right (1)

JefftheCpE (95392) | about 5 years ago | (#29752045)

If someone takes my life, my rights have been violated. That doesn't make it not a right. It just means that no one is forced to help me live. If I don't buy food, I starve. If I don't pay rent, I freeze. No one should be obligated to help me beyond their own generosity.

Idle hands (2, Insightful)

jamesl (106902) | about 5 years ago | (#29751651)

Politicians with too much time and not enough to do.

Right? (-1, Troll)

ScentCone (795499) | about 5 years ago | (#29751691)

It's easy to defend the rights to freedom of speech or of assembly. Those can be rationally derived from the fact of one's existence. But the right to broadband? Especially to a specific amount of bandwidth? Complete nonsense. What this really means is that the person getting the bandwidth has the power of government, with its ability to jail those that don't pay the appropriate taxes, to make bandwidth-providing slaves out of one group of people, so that another group can have the "right" to a service used (at that data rate) primarily by personal users for entertainment.

So this new right is just yet another form of redistribution of the fruits of productive labor, and more Nanny Statism. Of course. And when you make getting the use of a dermatologist or an allergist a "right," this is exactly the sort of thing that comes next.

Re:Right? (1)

Homburg (213427) | about 5 years ago | (#29751767)

It's easy to defend the rights to freedom of speech or of assembly. Those can be rationally derived from the fact of one's existence.

You might want to talk to some philosophers about that. Defining just what a right is is pretty difficult, let alone deriving specific rights from reason alone.

So this new right is just yet another form of redistribution of the fruits of productive labor...

It is indeed. So what's your point?

Re:Right? (1)

black3d (1648913) | about 5 years ago | (#29751975)

I believe philosophers speaking from a non-religious point of view would agree there is no such thing as "rights". We don't have contract with the universe when we're born. People use the word "rights" to describe what they think they deserve to get simply for being born. The truth is, which ScentCone seems to miss, that "rights" are an artificial social contract determined by whomever you put in charge to determine such. If Finland's government has decided 1mb internet access is a right, then it is just as much a fundamental right as any US Constitution-based rights are for Americans.

I'm not disagreeing with you Homburg, just expanding on the points you raise.

Re:Right? (2, Insightful)

black3d (1648913) | about 5 years ago | (#29751819)

If you're going to go back to fundamental existeance-based rights, the "freedom of speech" is also an artificial construct, which denies my basic human "right" to bash over the head anyone whom I don't like. In truth, all "rights" are a social agreement by which we can try and live in peace. Others in these comments talk about "right to shelter", whereas such a concept doesn't exist in primal society. You can construct your own shelter, and try and use it, as long as you're able fend off anyone else who'll come and try to take it.

As societal values shift, so does the implication of these socially-given "rights", which is why "Freedom of Speech", originally intended and implemented in social contract as a means of allowing people to express their own values and beliefs without fear of lethal repercussion, is now considered by most to mean "Freedom to invasively force my opinion on other people who don't care to hear it."

Re:Right? (4, Informative)

RalphSleigh (899929) | about 5 years ago | (#29751829)

So this new right is just yet another form of redistribution of the fruits of productive labor, and more Nanny Statism. Of course. And when you make getting the use of a dermatologist or an allergist a "right," this is exactly the sort of thing that comes next.

Here in Europe we like that kind of thing, YMMV.

Re:Right? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29751905)

Uh, you are aware that the US government has regulations requiring telephone access to everyone, right? This seems similar.

Re:Right? (1)

izomiac (815208) | about 5 years ago | (#29751937)

No clue if this was part of the rationale, but I'd consider the internet a tool for both speech and assembly. It'd rather difficult to carry on a conversation or assemble if you're not using the same communication tools as everyone else.

Re:Right? (1)

ScentCone (795499) | about 5 years ago | (#29752001)

It'd rather difficult to carry on a conversation or assemble if you're not using the same communication tools as everyone else.

In the US, the constitution says that the government can't stop you from speaking or assembling. That's not the same as saying that government (through confiscatory taxation) is under some obligation to provide the means by which to communicate or assemble.

Re:Right? (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 5 years ago | (#29751947)

Ah, nothing like writing about an article when you didn't even read the headline of the article in question. "Right to broadband" sounds so much better than "right to access to broadband" when writing a flame about nanny states.

Universal service obligations (4, Interesting)

Rising Ape (1620461) | about 5 years ago | (#29751719)

Isn't this just an extension of the universal service obligations commonly associated with telephone, electricity etc.?

Having said that, I don't really see the need for 100 Mbps internet access for everyone - it's expensive to provide, and what very important services does it provide that 1 Mbps won't?

Re:Universal service obligations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29751787)

Isn't this just an extension of the universal service obligations commonly associated with telephone, electricity etc.?

Having said that, I don't really see the need for 100 Mbps internet access for everyone - it's expensive to provide, and what very important services does it provide that 1 Mbps won't?

Porn...

Re:Universal service obligations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29752063)

I wouldn't even go that far. 640kbps should be enough for anyone.

Summary left out the word: ACCESS (1)

BenihanaX (1405543) | about 5 years ago | (#29751721)

The summary left out an important word. The right appears to be ACCESS to a 1Mb connection, not a right to the connection itself. In other words, the gov't isn't paying for the broadband, you are. The gov't (and therefore the people) just pay the lawmakers and if you're lucky enough to work in the telecom industry, you're set for life.

Great! But... (1, Interesting)

Looce (1062620) | about 5 years ago | (#29751729)

If you have the legal right to a broadband connection, do you have the legal right to get a computer to use that connection?

Re:Great! But... (1)

jfdawes (254678) | about 5 years ago | (#29751821)

Yes, you probably do. You also have the right to an electricity supply to power the computer and the right to have a house to put it in.

You also have the legal obligation to pay for the house, the computer, the electricity and the internet connection.

You do not have to avail yourself any of these rights if you don't want to.

Re:Great! But... (3, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29751893)

Of course. But neither one of them are free.

Lapland? (2, Interesting)

SharpFang (651121) | about 5 years ago | (#29751737)

I wonder how are they going to guarantee it to reindeer shepherds in the far north of Finland, living in the taiga good 100km away from nearest electric power...

Finland had it all (2, Insightful)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | about 5 years ago | (#29751857)

Finland, Finland, Finland [youtube.com]
The country where I want to be
Pony trekking or camping
Or just watching TV
Finland, Finland, Finland
It's the country for me

You're so near to Russia
So far from Japan
Quite a long way from Cairo
Lots of miles from Vietnam

Finland, Finland, Finland
The country where I want to be
Eating breakfast or dinner
Or snack lunch in the hall
Finland, Finland, Finland
Finland has it all

You're so sadly neglected
And often ignored
A poor second to Belgium
When going abroad

Finland, Finland, Finland
The country where I quite want to be
Your mountains so lofty
Your treetops so tall
Finland, Finland, Finland
Finland has it all

Finland, Finland, Finland
The country where I quite want to be
Your mountains so lofty
Your treetops so tall
Finland, Finland, Finland
Finland has it all

Finland has it all

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