Are our politicians doing enough to ensure the internet is ‘free and open’?

It should be unthinkable for a politician to be anti-digital, or indeed anti-internet – after all we rely on the net for our entertainment, travel, learning, jobs and our future economy – writes Andy Halsall

Can you imagine a world in which you have to pay a little extra to see the occasional YouTube clip? A place where there is a small charge for every iPlayer episode you watch? What about a world where it is free and quick to upload photos to your internet service provider’s photo sharing service but it takes hours to do the same using flickr? Or horror of horrors, what about a world where your ISP has done a deal with Microsoft, and you can quickly access Bing, but Google is strangely unresponsive....

Monday, 7 April, 2014 - 22:30

Andy Halsall : Take your phone on Holiday (well, almost)

If there is one thing the EU does manage to get mostly right on a fairly regular basis it is consumer protection. Maybe as a bloc it has more clout when facing big business, maybe it's more responsive in dealing with transnational issues, it's certainly better placed. Whatever the reason, we have the makings of a success story today with the vote on the excitingly named 'Telecoms Single Market Regulation'.

One of the issues dealt with was roaming fees, and it's about time: With roaming data fees of up to 46p/MB in EU countries, and up to £8/MB around the rest of the world it has been expensive and confusing to take your phone or tablet abroad and use mobile broadband services. Essentially the practice left people out of touch, or out of pocket.

Right now as a UK Virgin Mobile customer it would cost you £20 for 250MB of mobile usage within the EU using your UK Virgin account. That compares to £1 per 100MB in the UK, an 800% difference. It would be £1250 for the same outside of the EU, but that's an issue for another day.

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