New EU rules let you watch Netflix, BBC abroad

The EU hopes the measure should prevent users from using illegal broadcast services or virtual networks, known as VPNs, that connect to a service by hiding its true location
AFP

Brussels (AFP) – Don’t leave your iPad at home this holiday. Starting Sunday, Europeans on vacation can enjoy their online entertainment such as Netflix or BBC iPlayer as if at home all across Europe.

Europeans spend about one billion nights in other EU countries every year but until now faced a frustrating inability to access subscription services or national broadcasters while outside their home country.

All that changes on Easter Sunday, when new portability rules will allow travellers in the EU to access their online content when they’re away from home. 

“As of April 1, wherever you are travelling to in the EU, you will no longer miss out on your favourite films, TV series, sports broadcasts, games or e-books, that you have digitally subscribed to at home,” an EU statement said.

As it stands, a subscriber to the Netflix or Amazon Prime streaming service in, for example, France, only has access to the service as it is available in the country being visited, where the supply of movies or TV series often drastically differs to the home version.

In another example, digital subscribers to Sky Sports in London are unable to access Premier League football matches on their iPads or laptops when travelling abroad. 

The EU hopes the measure should prevent users from using illegal broadcast services or virtual networks, known as VPNs, that connect to a service by hiding its true location. 

The European Commission estimates that at least 29 million people, or 5.7 percent of EU consumers, could use cross-border portability this year, and that number could reach 72 million by 2020.

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