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Trials and Tribulations

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companion photo for Finland, Spain bringing 1Mbps broadband to everyone

While the US talks, other countries are acting. Both Finland and Spain have now decided to add "broadband" to their universal service requirements. By 2011, any Finn or Spaniard, no matter where they live, should be able to get a reliable 1Mbps connection at a reasonable price.

"Universal service": it's a common concept in developed countries, and it provides money to telephone operators and other utilities to ensure that service is extended even to places where it would not otherwise be profitable, and that prices remain reasonable. As broadband increasingly becomes an essential utility, members of Congress and US regulators at the FCC have pondered how some form of basic connectivity might be extended to every American address through the Universal Service Fund.

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