It is sometimes easy to forget that not everyone is connected to the Internet. For many of us, it feels so pervasive in our lives, and it is. But even some in the Western world do not yet have access to the Internet, and sometimes when they do it is through a slow connection. For instance, just two years ago there were still millions of Americans using dial-up and I doubt that number has drastically fallen since. Just reading that gave me flashbacks to my childhood when picking up the phone to call a friend meant your ear bled if someone was online. Sweden has decided that it wants all of its citizens online, and fast.
Everyone in Sweden will have Broadband by 2025
Sweden’s Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven, recently announced the plan to get all of Sweden connected to the Internet by 2025. Known for its warm embrace of human rights, Sweden says it cannot continue with a digital strategy that leaves people out. This may have to do with the UN’s declaration that access to the internet is a human right, but also makes sense from a practical standpoint. Fast internet is crucial for socialization and productive work.
Sweden’s plan has three parts, according to Housing and Digitalisation Minister Peter Eriksson. The first part ensures that at least 95% of Swedish households have access to 100Mbps internet connections by 2020. This is an incredibly fast speed for everyone to have, and it will be interesting to see what kind of effect this has on the nation’s productivity.
The second part will ensure that everyone in Sweden has a high-quality mobile internet connection. This will provide individuals with an uninterrupted connection to the Internet as long as they have mobile service. Swedish citizens will be able to access the Internet in all businesses, trains, and hotels via robust and stellar mobile connections.
The final stage of Sweden’s plan ensures that everyone who has not yet received broadband or a quality mobile connection is serviced. Officials hope that will take place by 2025.
Productivity’s Need for Speed
The Swedish government has placed such an emphasis on this because research has shown that access to the internet and other online amenities directly affects levels of worker productivity and work quality. It is easier to do business when one is connected to the Internet.
Other countries should pay close attention to Sweden’s initiative and consider implementing a similar plan. Like I mentioned before, there are still individual in the United States who do not have access to the Internet, or have extremely slow connections. There is no excuse for nations not investing in their digital infrastructures, and I am pleased to see Sweden updating its own digital infrastructure. Hopefully other nations will take the Swedish example and begin overhauling their digital spaces.