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Telecommunications universal service in Finland

Arno Wirzenius (Managing Director, Teleplanning A. Wirzenius Ltd, Kotka, Finland)


ISSN: 1463-6697

Publication date: 15 August 2008



The purpose of this paper is to describe how the objectives of telecommunications universal service have been achieved in Finland, largely without any formal universal service regulation.


The approach is a historical one, showing the evolution over time of service take‐up and use, as well as legislative changes. A range of people were interviewed with first‐hand knowledge of the development of Finland's telecommunications sector, and drew on a range of published data sources.


Fixed telephony is now used by a minority of households in Finland, having been superseded by mobile and broadband. The paper finds that the European framework, which Finland was required to adopt added no value to previous practices. The potential for any losses due to universal service to be financed by the state in fact has created an adverse investment incentive.


Since universal service has been a “non‐issue” in Finland, this is thought to be the first attempt to describe how universal service has in fact been achieved there. Besides displaying aspects of the Finnish experience that other countries could learn from, the paper raises a number of useful questions for policy makers.



Wirzenius, A. (2008), "Telecommunications universal service in Finland", info, Vol. 10 No. 5/6, pp. 107-120.



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