Friday, October 16, 2009

[ Free Broad Band.]

Thu, Oct 15 02:42 PM

The internet has become an integral part of human life and further validation of this assertion comes from the fact that Finland has become the first country in the world to make broadband Internet access a right for every Finnish citizen.

Yes, Finland has just passed a law that makes access to broadband a legal right for its citizens. Come July 2010, every person in Finland, which has a population of around 5.3 million, will have the guaranteed right to a one-megabit broadband connection.

This law could pave the way for India to start looking at broadband connection or even basic internet connection as its citizens' legal right, just like freedom of speech and expression.

India is emerging as a hub for information technology and global companies invariably looks toward India to meet their research and development needs and software production demands. So should India go ahead and make this a legal right for its citizens?

"While the internet savvy user of India will hail this move, let's not forget that Finland's total population is 5.5 million, which is 5 per cent of ours. Our primary concern right now should not be broadband access being a legal right, but childhood (and education) being the legal right of every child in the country and tougher laws on child labour. Can we please emulate Babar Ali, the world's youngest headmaster, and ensure that children have a right to be children before they're made to be earning members of the family?" says Jayashree S, a child rights activist.

Yes, it sounds true as it would be very unfair to compare India to Finland, given the gross discrepancies.

But not all think of it in the same way. Nancy, an avid netizen, says, "Internet is a way of life in India now. It is not just the youngsters who are hooked - people from all walks of life have started using the net to their benefit and are paying high prices for the same. It would be good if the rates are lesser, and yes, if it's free in Finland, even if it's 1mbps, why not here too?"

A vast majority in India feels that making a broadband connection a legal right is too farfetched a dream. "Broadband connection should not be a legal right as we have more important issues to deal with. We are lagging in providing even the basic amenities like water or electricity, thinking of legalising broadband is still very far," says Tarun, who works with a leading media house.

It might be too early to start a debate on whether broadband internet can be a natural extension to our legal rights in India. But kudos to the Finnish government for this landmark law. Who knows, this might just be the beginning of a new fight for our rights.

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