EU citizens will soon be able to access their Netflix or Spotify subscriptions from abroad around the EU (February 2017)

On 7 February 2017, an agreement on a new regulation was reached. The regulation, which is expected to come into force from 2018, will enable consumers to access their online content services (e.g. favourite series, music and sports events) when temporarily travelling in the EU the same way they can access them at home.

The regulation will by default apply only to paid-for online services, regardless of whether they are on-demand (Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Go etc.) or linear (Sky’s Now TV, Voyo). Providers of free services may choose to opt in and comply with the regulation but are not obliged to. Under the new rules access to online content services from abroad will only apply when the subscriber travels temporarily; it does not enable permanent access to a foreign subscription. For example, a Czech tourist travelling to France will be able to access his or her Czech Netflix subscription from France, but will not be able to access it if he or she moves to France permanently. The provider will be entitled to verify the residence of subscribers by effective means, for example, by sampling or periodic checking of IP address or different geolocation means.

The possibility to have access to online content services when travelling will be even more important from 15 June 2017 when the new roaming rules become effective. As of this day, periodical travellers will pay domestic prices for mobile internet irrespective of where in the EU they are. Access to online content services is thus expected to grow thanks to lower mobile data prices.