New technologies and a connected digital world create opportunities for both businesses and consumers. Having a fully integrated digital single market in the EU could help to boost its gross domestic product by €415 billion every year, however obstacles such as geo-blocking and outdated copyright rules still need to be overcome. Watch our video to find what the EU is doing to make the digital single market possible.
The digital single market is a prioritiy for both the European Commission and the European Parliament. MEPs are working on several proposals aiming to boost e-commerce and consumer protection, modernise copyright rules and update audiovisual rules. In January the Commission proposed new rules to protect people's privacy for all electronic communication and outlined steps to make the free movement of data within the EU possible.
One of the main hurdles consumers are confronted with is geo-blocking. This is the practice by some companies to unnecessarily stop consumers from using their on-line service in another country, often without justification, and to redirect traffic to a local store with different prices and products than those in other countries. “By refusing to provide certain services to a consumer or by making him pay more for a good because the person is living in another EU country, we create barriers that are completely artificial, unjustified and discriminatory,“ explains Julie Frére, of the Belgian consumer organisation Test Achats, in our video.
The European Parliament wants to see an end to unjustified geo-blocking and views last year's Commission proposals on e-commerce and geo-blocking as “a step in the right direction" . Watch our video to find out more about geo-blocking and how it creates barriers.
Another important step towards a digital single market is the creation of an accessible, high-speed and reliable infrastructure. In December 2016 Parliament and Council negotiators struck a deal to make the 700 MHz frequency available for wireless broadband services by 2020 in EU countries. The Commission has identified the frequency as key for providing broadband services in rural areas and for making the shift to the next generation internet, 5G.
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