Is Broadband a Basic Right? Finland Says Yes!

The Finnish telecommunications regulator said that, as of today, the country’s citizens have a basic right to broadband speeds of 1 Mbps and suggested that, for operators who have to supply such a service, a reasonable charge would be between 30 to 40 Euros ($36.70 and $48.90) per month. Finland also has an ambitious goal of connecting every citizen to a 100 Mbps connection by 2015.

Should the U.S. follow suit? It’s trying to. The Federal Communication Commission is attempting to reform of the Universal Service Fund to ensure that all Americans have access to broadband, as opposed to the current USF program that ensures all Americans have access to a telephone line. However, that reform effort was caught up in the fallout from a lawsuit filed by Comcast (s cmcsa) over the FCC’s authority to regulate some aspects of broadband, and now the agency is dealing with a big legal battle over whether or not it even has the power to include broadband in USF reform.

The Finns may not have had quite the legislative jumble to deal with as the U.S., but Finland is the first country to declare broadband as a basic right. For those that think the U.S. should do the same, or that the U.S. should implement a Broadband Bill of Rights, the current debate over reclassifying broadband is the place to start.

Related GigaOM Pro research (sub req’d): What Comcast’s Win Against the FCC Means for Broadband