Consumers want unrestricted Internet access: survey

A laptop screen shows the homepage of in Beijing June 8, 2006. REUTERS/Jason Lee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Nine in 10 people expect their Internet service providers to offer open and unrestricted access to the Web, a survey showed on Wednesday. The survey, commissioned by Google, Yahoo and Web telephone company Skype, came as the European Parliament and EU states hold talks on a joint deal to reform the bloc’s telecoms rules to boost competition.

“EU lawmakers should make sure that national authorities have the powers they need to act in cases where traffic management by telecommunication companies constitute unnecessary, discriminatory and/or anti-competitive behavior,” the companies said in a joint statement.

The survey by market researcher Synovate was conducted among 944 consumers in France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

“Consumers clearly think that they should have access to all legitimate sites and services online. They do not want their access blocked or limited,” said Synovate head Nigel Jackson.

He said most Internet users were not aware that their Internet service providers might be restricting access to these services in any way.

One in 10 of those polled in the survey in the UK said they were willing to fork out more for another Internet service provider if their company blocked or limited their service. The percentage was higher, at 15 percent for German consumers in the poll.

The European Parliament and EU governments have joint say over the telecoms measures which were authored by EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding and include the setting up of a new EU telecoms regulatory body.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter