Finland has become the first country in the world to make broadband a legal right for every citizen.
From 1 July every Finn will have the right to access to a 1Mbps (megabit per second) broadband connection.
Finland has vowed to connect everyone to a 100Mbps connection by 2015.
In the UK the government has promised a minimum connection of at least 2Mbps to all homes by 2012 but has stopped short of enshrining this as a right in law.
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.
Speaking to the BBC, Finland’s communication minister Suvi Linden explained the thinking behind the legislation: “We considered the role of the internet in Finns everyday life. Internet services are no longer just for entertainment.
“Finland has worked hard to develop an information society and a couple of years ago we realised not everyone had access,” she said.
It is believed up to 96% of the population are already online and that only about 4,000 homes still need connecting to comply with the law.
In the UK internet penetration stands at 73%.
The British government has agreed to provide everyone with a minimum 2Mbps broadband connection by 2012 but it is a commitment rather than a legally binding ruling.
“The UK has a universal service obligation which means virtually all communities will have broadband,” said a spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.