Published: 27th Mar 2014
The people of Europe are suffering from a "geographic lottery" when it comes to broadband, the European Commission (EC) has claimed.
New research carried out by the organisation has revealed the continent's 400 million internet users are exposed to wide variations on broadband price, speed and range of choice depending on where they live.
It said standard prices can be up to four times higher in some EU nations than others, while 66 per cent of people do not know what connection speed they have signed up for. The EC also claimed that on average consumers only get 75 per cent of the speed they pay for.
According to the organisation, the cheapest broadband services can be found in Lithuania, where it is available from just €10.30 (£8.57) per month. Yet in Poland the price can be as much as €140.
To try and solve this problem, EC vice-president Neelie Kroes wants a single broadband market to be established in the EU.
"There is no single market for internet and that has to change. There is no good reason why one person should pay over four times more than another in Europe for the same broadband."
She also called on broadband providers to make it easier for customers to understand the service they are offering and the speeds they should be able to receive. According to the EC's figures, fibre connections only tend to reach 82.7 per cent of the speed advertised, while the figure drops to 63.8 per cent for copper-based services.
Many Europeans are currently paying over the odds for a broadband connection that is slow and unreliable and such individuals should consider a switch to satellite internet.
This technology has already helped improve the continent's connectivity, as in October last year the EC announced the availability of satellite connections meant 100 per cent broadband coverage had been achieved across Europe.
Speaking at the time, Ms Kroes hailed the impact of satellite and said it was particularly important in bringing reliable internet access to Europe's more remote areas.
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