Four out of ten Europeans households are buying ‘bundled’ Internet, phone and TV services from a single provider, a Eurobarometer survey shows. The survey also found that 65 per cent of people limit their mobile phone calls because of cost and that calls over the Internet are becoming increasingly popular. The E-Communications Household Survey was carried out between 9 February and 8 March 2011 using a sample of 27,000 households that are representative of the EU population.
One in four respondents considered that their Internet download/upload speeds do not match the conditions of the contract they signed (a problem also identified in the Commission’s net neutrality Communication) and one in three said they have experienced connection breakdowns.
New EU legislation applicable from 25th May 2011 requires service providers to give customers comprehensive and accurate information in advance – before they sign a contract – on minimum service quality levels including actual connection speeds and possible limits on internet speeds. The Commission is currently investigating broadband speeds and other transparency and quality of service issues.
Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice President for the Digital Agenda, said that consumers were “loud and clear” in expressing fears that they were not getting the Internet speeds and quality of service they had been promised. “National authorities must take appropriate measures to ensure that operators respect new EU rules requiring to them to be transparent on connection speeds and service quality. If this should not be sufficient, I would not hesitate to take further action in the form of more prescriptive guidance, or even legislation if it is needed,” she warned.
Other findings indicate that:
– 98 per cent of EU households have access to a telephone and an increasing proportion of households (now 89 per cent) have access to a mobile phone. 62 per cent have both fixed and mobile phones, while only 9 per cent rely on a fixed line alone.
– 98 per cent of EU households have television. The most popular means of TV reception is cable (35 per cent) followed by digital terrestrial (30 per cent, an increase of 7 percentage points since November-December 2009).
– 42 per cent of households subscribe to a ‘bundled’ service, while 61 per cent of all Internet access and half of fixed telephony services are purchased as part of a bundle.
– 41 per cent of households said the main advantage of these packages was the convenience of having a single service provider and a single invoice. 33 per cent believed that a bundle is cheaper than paying for each service separately.
– However, 16 per cent consider that bundles offer some services they do not need and another 10 per cent raise concerns about the lack of transparency and clarity in relation to the cost and conditions of each service.