Tallinn, Estonia’s Wired Capital

Tallinn is not just a world heritage site with a history ranging far back to the Middle Ages — by bestowing its citizens with the fundamental right to free Internet access, Estonia has also become the most-wired country in Eastern Europe.

Few countries are as crazy about the Internet as Estonia, and no capital city can keep up with Tallinn on that count. All schools are connected to the Internet; more than 90% of all bank transactions are conducted online; and there are more mobile phones than residents. Tallinn’s citizens pay for their parking tickets and their bus passes by sending text messages from their mobile phones. Time-consuming visits to public authorities are largely a thing of the past, too. Estonians can even obtain birth certificates via the Internet and request parental assistance payments from the government in the same way. “The state guarantees Internet access free of charge as a basic right,” says Mänd. “And of course the politicians have to keep step with the civil servants.”

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