Internet speed is emerging as a top issue for internet users, with 45pc of European households willing to upgrade their internet subscription or switch suppliers for a faster connection, the latest EU-wide survey of how Europeans use the internet suggests.
The E-Communications Household Survey also reveals that 40pc of Europeans have found it difficult to access online content and applications because of insufficient speed or download capacity.
“Consumers increasingly care about their internet being fast enough to watch videos, for example. And for those who run businesses from their home, speed is also a competitiveness issue,” said Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission with responsibility for the Digital Agenda.
“Consumers now focus on both speed and price when making their choices.”
Phone call cost concerns
The survey also found that 54pc of households limit their national and international mobile phone calls because of concerns about cost.
“This is the smartphone era, where high-quality mobile services are an essential part of daily life,” said Kroes.
“It’s not acceptable for half the population to be limiting their phone calls because of cost issues, and it’s not acceptable that the lack of a connected single market encourages those limitations.”
However, the 2013 survey saw an 11pc drop (from 60pc to 49pc) in the numbers concerned about the cost of calls to networks other than their own domestic networks. This suggests the commission’s efforts to reduce mobile termination rates are having a positive effect for consumers.
The survey’s findings also reflect an increase in the number of households that have at least one mobile internet subscription – 44pc today, compared to 30pc in 2012.
The E-Communications Household Survey has been conducted annually since 2006, and the full report will be published in the coming weeks.