Broadband for All

All Finns should have access to a high-speed, reasonably-priced broadband Internet connection within the next two years. A government task force is calling for a combination of fixed lines, satellite and digital television technologies to bring broadband to all.

By the end of this month, there will be around 400,000 broadband connections in use in Finland. The target is now to multiply that figure by two and a half - in just two years.

The government's task force suggests that this be done mainly as a commercial venture. That means that the state will not use public money to fund a nationwide broadband system.

The working group recognizes that in many sparsely-populated parts of the country broadband infrastructure could never be commercially viable.

Arrangements will have to be made to provide some incentives to telecoms operators and probably to provide some public funding.

If money is spent, it will go to help operators expand - not directly pay consumers' expenses.

The report also points out that for technical and economic reasons fixed-line broadband connections are not practical in many parts of the country.

In some areas, broadband services will probably be provided via satellite or digital television technologies.