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Finland Says 1Mb Broadband Access Is A Legal Right

from the my-rights-are-being-trampled dept

While the US is still struggling to figure out how to define broadband and where it's even available, Finland has decided that 1Mb broadband access should now be considered a legal right, with plans to boost that to 100Mb by the end of 2015. There do appear to be some exceptions for remote households, but if I were living in Finland right now, instead of the heart of Silicon Valley, my "legal rights" would be denied. While I'm not sure it makes sense to define broadband as a legal right, it's yet another reminder of how far behind the US appears to be on broadband deployments.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 6:37pm

    That's just crazy. Next they will be declaring "legal rights" for receiving more than ten telephone calls over the course of a day. Remember kids: Nine is just fine!

     

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  2.  
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    Brian (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 6:42pm

    And by the time Finland has their 100Mbit internet the US will have 0Mbit internet since everyone will have been accused of file sharing and either been kicked off the internet or fined until they are homeless.

     

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  3.  
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    misterdoug (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 7:13pm

    It's amazing how many Americans think of Europe as the "old world" and the rest as the "third world." In many forums the mere mention of another country being ahead of the USA in any way will be viciously attacked as misguided liberal propaganda, eliciting frothing rants about socialism and freedom.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 7:19pm

    Re:

    Liberal, conservative, it's all stupid. The truth is that no matter where a good idea comes from it should be investigated.

     

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  5.  
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    jerryjvl, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 7:21pm

    Legal right...

    > While I'm not sure it makes sense to define broadband as a legal right

    My guess would be that declaring internet access to be a legal right would be the first step towards moving access and interaction with the government exclusively online; whether this is intended to enable a government cost-cutting measure across the board, or perhaps as a means to enable more meaningful input into the governmental process is anyone's guess.

     

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  6.  
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    Chris (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 7:29pm

    I believe the UK is also aiming to have broadband (2MB) available to every household in the UK by 2012, however I forget the exact details. I'm sure your standard rates will still apply, and you've also got to consider that the laying of all cables etc will come straight out of your taxes, and all the profits will be made by the ISPs.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 7:33pm

    Finland — Population: 5,244,749

    End discussion. sort of like saying broadband is a right in a small neighborhood in Tokyo.

     

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  8.  
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    harbingerofdoom (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 7:54pm

    Finland — Population: 5,244,749

    while AC does make a rather valid point, he also completely (and so conveniently) sweeps the entire point that the US should NOT be as far behind in broadband penetration as it currently is. especially when there are locations in rather urbanized areas that still can not get a real broadband connection.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 8:03pm

    Re:

    So what? It's a country meeting the needs of citizens.

    Are you saying that Piss Poor America is too whiny? Listen man, your head is so far up your ass that you have to open your mouth to see if the sun is rising or setting.

    Oh, 5M people. Blah blah. Did you know Karl Rove recently said it's "only 5M people who don't have health insurance".

    http://vodpod.com/watch/2141232-karl-rove-really-only-5-million-without-health-insura nce

    Oh Poor Finland. It's such a sad story with their polar bears, and solo violins playing in the background, that they had to get internet for everyone.

    Bah.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 8:16pm

    Re:

    Compare broadband in Tokyo with that in, I don't know, say, New York? I am pretty sure one is significantly better than the other. Oh, but New York has a few more people than Tokyo. Got it. How could I be so stupid.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 8:34pm

    Re:

    End discussion. sort of like saying broadband is a right in a small neighborhood in Tokyo.

    Sort of like saying even a small neighborhood in Tokyo can beat the US. A little more meaningful now, isn't it?

     

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  12.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 9:51pm

    Re:

    Finland — Population: 5,244,749

    Silicon Valley -- population ~3 million (depends how you count). And broadband is worse here... despite it being more densely populated than Finland.


    End discussion.


    Not really.

     

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  13.  
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    Brian, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 9:58pm

    Re: Re:

    "Oh, but New York has a few more people than Tokyo. Got it. "

    Guessing you were being sarcastic? Tokyo's population, about 12.8 million. NY's, about 8.4 million.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 10:16pm

    But the FCC is working hard with the RIAA and MPAA and telcos and cablecos to ensure that everyone gets a decent broadband connection for a decent price :)

     

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  15.  
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    Jari Winberg (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 11:23pm

    Re:

    Finland — Population: 5,244,749

    End discussion. sort of like saying broadband is a right in a small neighborhood in Tokyo.


    It's not that simple. You have to consider population density as well. On average there are 17 people per square kilometer in Finland. In Lapland, northern part of Finland, population density is 2 people per square kilometer. And in some areas it's only 0.2.

    Cable is not going to be the solution for many places. Mobile broadband is a big part of the broadband strategy.

     

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  16.  
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    Chargone (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 11:44pm

    Re: http://www.pretty-tiffany.com

    jewelry spambots....

    better or worse than shoes?

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 11:46pm

    Re: Re:

    It's the same as the small artist/big artist thing. Finland's too small. Tokyo is too big.

    If someone doesn't want to admit that the US (in particular the companies handling the broadband offerings) is doing a second tier job, no amount of facts or examples that do work will convince them.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2009 @ 12:01am

    Re: Re:

    You're right. I know a few folks in Sunnyvale (Which, oddly is a city that a few small tech companies such as HP, Yahoo, Juniper Networks, Palm, AMD, Lockheed, Honeywell, Northrop Grumman) where it's actually quite commonplace that people can't get a basic DSL line, but the person across the street can.

    Personally, I find it quite odd that my parents can get a faster internet connection in their house literally in the middle of nowhere.

    "Keep driving until the pavement ends, and it's a dirt road" are the directions I give. Last year, during the holidays, I remember going out on the porch around 10:00 and literally hearing nothing but dead silence, until the neighbor's gas meter kick in. I did some investigation, and found the sound to be emanating a neighbor three houses down. My discovery was truly surreal in it's own rite.

    I suppose it all comes down to some internal build-out prioritization process, or internal political challenges.
    But Sunnyvale.. Redmond? (oops, I didn't mean to let that last one slip.) Man. You make me want to call Sol Trujillo and put him in Dennis Strigl or Randall Stephenson's place.

     

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  19.  
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    Falindraun (profile), Oct 15th, 2009 @ 12:35am

    Re:

    Oh I'm sure they are ... trying to figure out a way to prevent music/movies/television/telephone from getting out on the internets (Oops sorry guys too late).

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Fin, Oct 15th, 2009 @ 2:30am

    Broadband, free health care, 50% off day care, free education including universities (top rank in PISA assessment, US in bottom), no intelligent design bullshit, 5 weeks vacation/year. Maternity leave (up to 1 year with 90-100% salary). The list goes on and on.

    Oh Finland! What a lousy socialist wealth-redistributer country!

    Ah, but it's only 5 million so it doesn't count.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2009 @ 2:52am

    Re:

    So, can someone work at, Hell, I dunno, the local Anttila Store and still get those types of benefits?

     

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  22.  
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    Timö, Oct 15th, 2009 @ 3:13am

    Re: Re:

    Yes. You get it all. Including polar bears, but the bears, while a nuisance, come with any job. :-P

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2009 @ 3:16am

     

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  24.  
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    DS, Oct 15th, 2009 @ 3:43am

    Re: Re:

    "And broadband is worse here... despite it being more densely populated than Finland."

    And it's my responsibility to fix it for you?

     

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  25.  
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    John Doe, Oct 15th, 2009 @ 4:09am

    Re:

    You are so right. Europeans would never be that snobbish.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2009 @ 4:12am

    Re: Re: Re:

    >> And it's my responsibility to fix it for you?

    It's probably not your own "personal" responsibility, but it's quite possible that AT&T does a horrible, horrible job at anything it says it does, unless it gets a fat check from the Government to spy on people. Then everything is funded and seems to work just fine.

    Being the "American Telephone and Telegraph" Company, it often seems that they're still stuck in the Telegraph age.

    Have you heard about the health plans this Blue Chip stock offers it's employees?

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2009 @ 4:15am

    Re:

    Why don't you move there? Seriously? People complain all the time about where they live and tout how great it is somewhere else. The answer is easy, move.

    Why does every country have to be like every other country? It is like joining the girl scouts and then trying to change them into the boy scouts. If you want the boy scouts then join the boy scouts. Why push your will on others?

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2009 @ 4:40am

    Re: Re:

    Boy, you have a short memory. In the 1990s, a large amount of US taxpayer money was made available to build some sort of "Internet Superhighway" or "broadband network". Remember when Al Gore said he "Created The Internet"? We all laugh about that today, but in reality he was right, because he made major taxpayer moooolah available to companies so they could upgrade from T1 and ISDN lines across the US to more viable things like DS3s and OC48s.

    Today, they're needing to be upgraded again, but carriers are dragging their feet, waiting for a Broadband Stimulus or something before they actually spend the money on upgrades.

    Its a repeat of the 1990s: "If the Government will pay for it, let's wait and inconvenience customers a few more months and get the gear for free" seems to be the general modis operandi. Meanwhile, carriers still take advantage of the fiber which was layed during the 1990s on the taxpayer's dime, go through multiple mergers, name buildings and sports arenas after their companies and leaders, and still offer a hefty dividend pocket most of the profit.

    Great businessplan. Wish I would have seen it coming.

    To paraphrase Bush:
    Fool me once... You never get fooled again.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2009 @ 5:38am

    Re: Re:

    Well, not that it is exact, but wikipedia shows San Jose with 5,758.1/sq mi and Helsinki with 7,040.6/sq mi - and the country of Finland only having 40/sq mi, which again is key in the game, especially if you read the report a little more carefully.

    The government is picking up most of the tab for this network, with the telecom companies paying only a very small amount. The national government is paying more than half the bill (and aggressively freeing up radio spectrum), regional and local governments are picking up a fair bit, the telecoms very little in the end.

    The freeing up radio spectrum is key in the game here. Wire the dense areas, provide radio coverage to a speed that is much slower than 3G for the rest. Oh yeah, let's not forget no competition, no alternate carriers, no nothing.

    You cannot expect the same governmental intervention in the US because of the sheer volumes of near empty space in the US. Moving to put a 1 meg connection into every home in the US is impractical because of the size of the job at hand. Finland has only 3% of the land mass of the US, and for that matter, is 1/3 the size of California. The scale of the project is a little different, no?

    Apples, meet oranges, techdirt style.

     

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  30.  
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    Froppy, Oct 15th, 2009 @ 5:42am

    Re:

    @Anonymous Coward (7):
    Finland is mostly a big forest, with tons of lakes. It is sparsely populated and in a smaller population there is less people who pay the taxes and less people working to provide access.

    In short: Your comment is uneducated and "endumbening". :D

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2009 @ 5:55am

    Re: Re:

    Again, you aren't thinking with your dipstick, Jimmy!

    Since it is mostly forest, you put up a couple of big radio towers to offer 1meg service to all the forest areas. Now, eliminating almost all of the area of the country, you are looking at nothing more significant than wiring up a single city and a few smaller towns. This isn't exactly rocket science. Remember, a 1 meg connection is only 1/7th the speed of the current 3g 3.5g world. (suppose to be 7.x meg).

    So actually, your comments only help to support my point of view. Finland has very little work to do to become wired.

    feeling "endumbed" yet?

     

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  32.  
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    John Doe, Oct 15th, 2009 @ 5:55am

    There is another important point being missed here

    Besides the fact that they are making sure everyone has a broadband connection, they are making it a right. A right would imply something that can't be taken away. Who would take it away you ask? The movie & music industry of course. No 3 strikes laws there.

     

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  33.  
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    Yakko Warner, Oct 15th, 2009 @ 7:56am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Plus Strategic Air Command keeps a dial-up number in Sunnyvale. Login is "Joshua". ;)

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2009 @ 9:02am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You cannot expect the same governmental intervention in the US...

    Can't expect the gov't in the US to give the telcos subsidies? What a joke. The gov't in the US has ALREADY given the telco industry HUGE subsidies and stands poised to continue to do so in the future.

     

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  35.  
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    -, Oct 15th, 2009 @ 9:34am

    Re:

    Population here doesn't make this significant, but the fact that many people live in remote areas and struggling to get a good enough service because operators don't want to invest on those areas. With this law it gives the equal rights to everyone to get the same level of service.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2009 @ 10:54am

    Re:

    Why do people continue to propagate the idea that if the government provides a service, it's free? You do realize that that's all paid for with tax dollars right? Someone pays.

     

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  37.  
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    Allan Masri (profile), Oct 15th, 2009 @ 10:59am

    USA just can't do it...

    Comparisons with other countries are futile, except to point out how people somewhere else are solving problems that face all of us. What's your excuse, America? Are you simply channeling GW Bush ("It's so haaard!") The US can do it if we stop whining and listening to idiots trying to convince us we can't. The government is evil and can't do anything well...except when they built the interstate highway system or put a man on the moon. Both those massive outlays of tax money led to tremendous leaps in productivity, subsidies to people and industries that were undreamed of, these industries led to US domination of the world economy. But now? Government shouldn't try to do anything, because short-sighted individuals want their bank accounts to get bigger.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2009 @ 11:16am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Since you know your history, you'll also remember that there was a dot-com bubble that burst in 2001. You're right that there was a huge push to lay fiber all over the country, but alot of companies went under because they invested tons of their own money to improve the national broadband infrastructure. Can you blame them for being a little gun shy now?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dot-com_bubble

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2009 @ 12:01pm

    Re: USA just can't do it...

    The US can't do it for a bunch of reasons. Free Market, the misguided political desire to treat everyone equally (even if they choose to live in the middle of buttf--k nowhere) etc.

    Much of the government support for infrastructure in telecom has been used to run high speed internet to very low population density areas, where it is all but impossible to get service anyway, because most people are too far from the CO or too far to get cable anyway.

    When the chance came to change this at least a bit (with the TV bandwidth coming available), the chance was lost. Wireless communications for these areas would be significantly cheaper than running wires to each of these homes, which is what they appear to be mandating in Finland.

    The US misses because the US wants to miss. If you don't like your high speed internet service, why not start your own?

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2009 @ 7:25pm

    Re: Re: USA just can't do it...

    The US can't do it for a bunch of reasons. Free Market, the misguided political desire to treat everyone equally (even if they choose to live in the middle of buttf--k nowhere) etc.

    Government granted local and spectral monopolies aren't exactly what I'd call "free market". And in fact, those special privileges that most providers enjoy are pretty much the opposite of treating everyone "equally".

    Wireless communications for these areas would be significantly cheaper than running wires to each of these homes, which is what they appear to be mandating in Finland.

    Hardly. Equivalent wireless bandwidth costs significantly more than wired.

    If you don't like your high speed internet service, why not start your own?

    Maybe because violating those gov't granted monopolies I mentioned above could land me in prison and I've heard that it isn't a very nice place. I would invite you to go try out prison on your own though and then let us all know what you think of it.

     

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  41.  
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    Emily Wilkes, Oct 15th, 2009 @ 7:58pm

    What if you just don't want the internet? It is not entirely necessary, but it would be illegal in Finland not to have access to the internet.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Joe, Oct 16th, 2009 @ 5:27am

    It isnt free

    The law doesnt provide free internet its just making access to internet at a reasonable price a legal right. The telecom providers will be charging for the service.

     

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