24% of European internet users say they are prevented by their providers from watching videos, listening music or using other applications of their choice, according to a new Eurobarometer survey of 28,000 citizens across the EU.
The survey found that:
- 41% experience problems watching a video on a mobile device and 37% on the fixed Internet connection at home (due to speed limitations or blocking of content)
- 23% experience problems listening to music on their mobile device,
- 23% experience problems uploading content on Facebook, blogs or forums through their mobile device
- 19% experience problems playing online games at desk computer,
- 9% experience problems using Internet-delivered phone calls
It also shows that:
- 60% of customers do not know their Internet speed.
- Of those who know their speed, 26% say that they do not get a speed which matches the terms of their contract.
- 40% of all respondents have experienced an internet connection break down.
“When you buy an internet subscription you should get access to all content, and you should get it at the speed you have paid for. That is what the open internet should be, and all Europeans should have access to it,” European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes commented the findings, which reinforce evidence reported by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications in 2012 on net neutrality and open internet.
“My goal is to protect consumers by guaranteeing an open internet across Europe and by giving them new rights and transparency regarding their internet connection,” said Kroes. “My goal is also to protect innovation, so that anyone can innovate on the open internet and alongside the internet without harming it. This would ultimately promote more competition and choice for the benefit of consumers.”
The Commission’s proposed Connected Continent Regulation (MEMO/13/779) aims at a single market for Internet and communications. The Proposal is currently being discussed by the European Union’s legislators (European Parliament and Council).
This proposal would deliver an open internet for all citizens in Europe and enhance transparency by requiring operators to provide their customers with accurate information about the speed and quality of the internet service they provide. It would end discriminatory blocking and throttling and deliver effective protection of the open internet. It sets out clear rules regarding traffic management banning such management except in exceptional circumstances.
It also enables the provision of “specialised services” such as high definition video services and eHealth services which promote innovation and choice in telecoms markets, but it enables them in a way which maintains the quality of general internet access. Using this approach, operators would continue to be able to compete for consumers on price and quality differences (for example, different internet speeds or data volumes) that best match customers’ needs.