The Internet in Estonia

Free Wi-Fi is everywhere, and has been for a decade.

Viik says you could walk 100 miles – from the pastel-coloured turrets here in medieval Tallinn to the university spires of Tartu – and never lose internet connection.

…Last year, 94% of tax returns were made online, usually within five minutes. You can vote on your laptop (at the last election, Ilves did it from Macedonia) and sign legal documents on a smartphone. Cabinet meetings have been paperless since 2000.

Doctors only issue prescriptions electronically, while in the main cities you can pay by text for bus tickets, parking, and – in some cases – a pint of beer. Not bad for country where, two decades ago, half the population had no phone line.

Estonia is also at the forefront of privacy issues. Everyone in Estonia has a national ID card, which might frighten some Americans–although we already have essentially the same thing, but everyone in Estonia also knows who else has accessed their records. Thus, compared to the United States, Estonia is in many ways a more transparent society. Estonia is also on the forefront of dealing with cyber-terrorism with their own national “electronic” guard.

More at The Guardian.


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