posted 24 Sep 2012, 02:12 by Costas Kalogiros
this year's edition, an emphasis has been made on tariff transparency, quality
of services and consumer switching, in relation with the current policy debate
on net neutrality.
Below you can read an abridged summary of the key findings of the survey (the full report can be found here):
82% of EU citizens who have broadband
Internet access at home are unwilling to pay more for a faster Internet
- Slightly more than half of EU citizens (58%) do not
know what their maximum download speed is (58%).
- Slightly less than half of respondents (46%) sometimes
experience difficulties accessing online content and applications due to
insufficient speed or capacity, but only 8% reported experiencing these
- Only 14% of EU citizens would be willing to pay more for a
faster Internet connection. Among those
who would pay more, 39% want to be able to upload or share content. Respondents who are willing to pay
more for an Internet connection with a higher speed or downloading data
capacity are more likely to have encountered difficulties accessing online
content. Indeed, among those respondents who were unwilling to pay more for a
faster Internet connection, over half (57%) report never experiencing
difficulty accessing content due to limited speed. By contrast, more than six
out of ten respondents who would be willing to pay more experienced
difficulties accessing content (62%). The more the respondents are willing to
pay the more frequently they experienced problems. Nearly three respondents out
of ten (29%) willing to pay 33% or more experienced frequently difficulties
whereas they are 15% of those who are willing to pay up to 15% more. On average, more than eight out of ten EU citizens
would not be prepared to pay more for an Internet connection with a higher
speed or a greater downloading capacity (82%). Most of these citizens would
only be willing to pay up to 15% more (11%).
- A quarter of EU citizens have experienced blocking of
online content when surfing the Internet from home (26%). Those
respondents who are not prepared to pay more have most likely less experience
with blocking of online content, compared with those who would pay more for a
faster connection (26% and 35%, respectively). However, there is a different
pattern among respondents who are ready to pay more. Those respondents who are
ready to pay up to 15% more, or between 16 and 33% more, are more likely to
have experienced blocking of online content than those who are willing to pay
more than 33% more for higher speed (35% and 34% vs. 26%). Most
experiences of blocking appear to relate to Internet users trying to access
multimedia resources. The most common activity interrupted by blocking was
watching videos (33%), followed by listening to music (21%), downloading free
video content (19%) and watching live events (17%). Filtering whilst playing
online games (17%), downloading free audio content (15%) and watching
television (13%) were also mentioned by a substantial proportion of
respondents. Only one in twenty (6%) respondents reported having experienced blocking
whilst trying to make Internet phone calls, although this may reflect the
relatively low incidence of Internet phone calls.
in five users of mobile Internet has experienced blocking of content (20%), a
figure five percentage points lower than the levels of blocking experienced
when surfing from home.
Half of EU citizens are not aware that network operators
and service providers may monitor the content they access (49%).
- EU citizens generally oppose
monitoring by service providers. 85% of respondents agreed that service
providers should inform before monitoring for any reason. They also largely oppose to
monitoring of traffic for marketing reasons. 87% of respondents agreed that
service providers should request authorisation before monitoring for marketing
- A large majority of EU citizens (86%)
would want to be told if any of their personal data was lost, stolen or altered
in any way. 72% would want to be told under any circumstances, but 14% of
citizens would only want to know if they were at risk of financial harm.
- Awareness of content monitoring by
network operators and service providers is fairly limited. Fewer than half of
EU citizens (43%) are aware of this practice.
- Citizens in all Member States widely
agreed that service providers should inform customers before monitoring their
traffic data and communications.
Two-thirds of households have Internet access (64%). Among households without an Internet connection, the
top reason given for not having one is that all household members are
disinterested in accessing the Internet (63%). These figures relay an increase
of four percentage points since spring 2011. Cost, as an explanation, has
decreased in importance, down to only 18%, compared with 21% in the previous
survey. The changes in the reasons may reflect the more widespread levels of
- Broadband growth stalls for
the first time
- Only a very small proportion
of households in Europe have narrowband Internet
- Access to the Internet
continues to increase but at a slower rate
Price is the most important factor when subscribing to the
Internet. Nearly half noted cost as their first
consideration (45%) followed by maximum download speed (13%), the fact that the
Internet subscription is part of a bundle (12%) and the customer service
offered (7%). No other factor was cited by more than 5% of respondents as their
first consideration. Among those respondents who correctly
stated the maximum download speed in their contract, two-thirds (67%) agreed
that the speed matched the terms of their contracts. Four
out of ten EU citizens experience difficulties accessing online content and
applications due to insufficient speed or capacity (42%). However, only 8%
claim that such difficulties are experienced often.
Slightly fewer than half of
households buy bundled communications services (43%). The most commonly cited aspect of bundled services is
the convenience of a single invoice (43%), followed by the perception that they
are cheaper than paying for each service separately (31%).
Only a third of respondents have
considered changing Internet Service providers (33%) or bundle providers (33%). Most households (62%) have not
considered changing their Internet provider
Telephone access is nearly universal
(98%) among EU households.
- There has been no shift in the types of
telephone access across the EU since spring 2011 or winter 2009. Most
households have both fixed and mobile access (62%) and this EU average has
- Making phone calls via the Internet has remained broadly stable since spring
2011 (27%, down from 28%). Internet telephony is most popular in NMS12, where
32% of households use it on average.
Most mobile phone users limit their
calls with their mobile phones because they are worried about communication