Finland has 5.2 million people. Over a million live in the Helsinki area (about 20 square miles). Thats about 20% of the population. Can you name a city in the US that has 20% of the population?
What the *heck* are you talking about? Who in their right mind uses percentage of population as a metric of economic feasibility? What kind of stupid FUD is this?
Now, Finland is a reasonable large landmass, which accounts for your view of it being "sparsely" populated. But, population, for the most part, is concentric there.
The government's plan is to provide EVERYONE with 100 mbps by 2015. That requires fiber to every single household, regardless of where they live.
As for the "concentric" of people, the 1 million+ live in the Greater Helsinki Area
, not the metropolitan area itself. The density of population in that area is still far less than most US states, and if you look at just the metropolitan area most major US cities have much higher population densities. So basically you're full of it.
Last I looked, the incumbants pay PEG and regulatory fees to the state and federal level, not the other way around.
How much money do you think ISPs would have to pay if they had to negotiate settlement fees with every landowner to use their property for line placement? That alone is an incredible subsidy. What about the government's enforcement of public spectrum allocation? Do you think wireless companies could by itself prevent people from illegally interfering in their licensed airwaves?
In addition, numerous states have outright bans on the buildout of municipal networks, while numerous others have extremely difficult to overcome regulatory hurdles. You don't think this provides ISPs with monetary advantages?