Online content to be made available across EU borders by 2018

EU negotiators have agreed on new rules allowing consumers to access online content when travelling across the bloc

jeanelle_mifsud
Jeanelle Mifsud
8 February 2017, 12:24pm
EU negotiators agreed on future regulation enabling consumers to access their online content services when they travel in the EU the same way they access them at home, following a December 2015 proposal by the European Commission.

The new rules were agreed upon through three-way negotiations among representatives of the European Parliament, the member states and the European Commission, and will allow consumers to fully use their online subscriptions to films, sports events, e-books, video games or music services when travelling within the EU.

The rules must be formally confirmed by the Council of the EU and the European Parliament. Once the rules are adopted, they will apply in all EU member states by beginning of 2018, granting service providers and right holders a nine-month preparation period.

Providers who offer paid online content services will be obliged to follow the regulations, while those who offer free services will be able to decide whether or not to provide portability to their subscribers.

In a survey carried out in 2015, one in three Europeans wanted cross-border portability, while in 2016, 64% of Europeans used the internet to play or download games, images, films or music. They did it increasingly through mobile devices.

EU culture commissioner Tibor Navracsics said that the agreement “opens new doors to citizens while at the same time protecting creators and those investing in the production of cultural or sport content.”

“This balanced solution is an encouraging sign for our efforts to build a digital single market that offers new opportunities for both creators and consumers,” he added.

Earlier this month, the European Union reached a deal to allow consumers to use mobile data across the bloc without paying roaming fees, agreeing to cap wholesale mobile data prices at €7.75 per gigabyte from 15 June, and decreasing this to €6 as of 1 January 2018.