Broadband prices in some parts of the European Union can be up to four times more expensive than in other member states, according to new research.
The data, published by the European Union to support its move to create a single market for broadband, reveals other major disparities.
They include claims that:
- Cheapest advertised broadband ranges from 10.30 euros per month in Lithuania to 46.20 euros in Cyprus.
- Spanish broadband prices can be up to 50% higher than in France.
- Consumers, on average, are only getting 75% of the broadband speeds they sign up for.
- Two-thirds of people don’t know what broadband speeds they have signed up for.
The European Commission says despite “waves of telecom sector reforms” the sector is still too fragmented.
The European Parliament will next week (April 3) vote on proposals to reform the sector, in a bid the EC says will improve the situation for consumers.
It includes making it easier for operators to sell their services across Europe. This, it is hoped, will increase competition and improve provision and prices for consumers.
The proposals, part of a package to phase out mobile roaming charges, also seek to encourage more investment in 4G and increase capacity for wireless broadband.
Critics argue the reforms risk undermining national regulators.
BEREC (Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) – when the proposals were first published – said in a statement: “BEREC supports the Commission’s objectives to promote the single market and to ensure optimal conditions for greater investment in the sector, in the interest of European consumers and the wider European economy.
“However, BEREC is concerned that the proposed regulation is being rushed through the European legislature without proper explanation and full exploration of its potential consequences.
“BEREC is also concerned that the proposals represent a substantial shift in the balance of power between the Commission, Member States and National Regulatory Authorities, centralising competences at the Community level. These proposals risk undermining the ability of national regulators, whether acting individually or collectively, to take appropriate and proportionate regulatory action in all the relevant markets.”