At the moment, British Netflix subscribers can’t enjoy a film or their favorite television show while in Europe – perhaps laying in bed on holiday in Paris, or on the train while traveling the continent on a business trip. With smart phones, tablets and laptops so easily transported, and with most hotels, restaurants and coffee shops these days offering free WiFi, Vince Cable, the UK’s Business Secretary, says this must change.
As it stands, the European digital market is an amalgamation of various overlapping networks, and services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video cannot be accessed by the British subscriber who is traveling the continent; an annoyance for customers who rightly feel that, in this modern age of WiFi and relatively cheap travel, their service should be available on the go.
Vince Cable’s vision for a single digital market in Europe would make purchasing from fellow E.U countries easier for consumers from all European countries, and he’s not the only one rallying for the change that is believed would boost the UK & EU’s economy by up to 340 billion euros in total.
Neelie Kroes, the vice president of the European Commission, has already called for roaming charges to be scrapped, and is a strong proponent in favor of a single European digital market. The department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) also believes that the single pan-European digital market would benefit consumers by allowing them to make the most of special online prices, while generally making prices fairer across the board. BIS also feels that a single market would give consumers the confidence to purchase from abroad that is currently lacking due to confusion about cross-border consumer rights.
For now, it seems like all the voices, in the right places, are in favor of this change, and so it would appear that it won’t be too long before the internet in Europe goes through quite a positive upheaval. Speaking at the EC Neelie Kroes said,
“In telecoms, of all sectors, there is no place for borders! It’s called a world wide web for a reason! There is no other sector of our incomplete European single market where the barriers are so unneeded, and yet so high.”