Last checked: 04/02/2019

Internet access

Internet connection

Wherever you are in the EU you must be able to access electronic communication services of good quality at an affordable price - including basic internet access. There should be at least one internet provider who can provide this service for you. This is known as the "universal service"' principle.

In some specific cases, such as issues with the technical feasibility of a request, your request might not be considered "reasonable" and could be refused.

To find out more, contact the national regulatory authorities in your country. They will put you in touch with your universal service provider.

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You always have the right to basic internet access

Stathis moved to a remote Greek island and wanted to get an internet connection in his new house there. After several companies had told him their networks didn't cover his area, he finally found out who the universal service provider was in Greece. He contacted this company, which provided him with an internet connection.

Net neutrality

You have the right to access and distribute the online content and services you wish. Your internet provider cannot block, slow down or discriminate against any online content, applications or services, except in 3 specific cases:

This is known as net neutrality.

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You can access the online content you want

John, from Ireland, recently started a new job in Germany. He wanted to use a video call app to talk to his family so he could save the cost of phone calls. He was pleased to discover that he had a choice of different video call apps he could use for free over his internet connection.

EU net neutrality rules prohibit internet access providers from blocking applications or asking for extra money to use video call apps.

Subscriptions to internet providers

Your internet provider must give you information on:

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Your internet provider must you give information on its services

Laura from Romania wanted to get an internet connection at home, but wasn't sure about the quality of services provided by the various packages on offer.

Luckily - as required by law - all the service providers gave sufficient details on their websites. Laura was also able to get even more information from the Romanian national regulatory authorities for electronic communications.

The internet provider must also:

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Lengthy contracts are illegal

Enrique wanted to get an internet connection in his flat during his 1 year stay in Berlin on a university exchange - but was told by several providers that the minimum subscription time was 2 years.

After consulting the national authority for electronic communications and finding out about his rights, Enrique contacted the providers again and was able to get a subscription for 1 year only.

Special support for disabled users

If you are a user with disabilities, you are entitled to the same range and choice of services enjoyed by the majority of consumers.

You may also be eligible for special accessibility devices from your service provider - such as magnification software or a screen reader, if you are visually impaired.

Your national regulatory authorities might be able to provide you with more details as regards these accessibility rights.

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Services should be available for users with disabilities

Véronique, from France, is partially sighted and needs special assistance to read websites.

On a tip from a friend, she contacted the French universal service provider to enquire about getting a screen reader. The provider delivered the software Véronique needed.

EU legislation

Need more information on rules in a specific country?

Need support from assistance services?

Get in touch with specialised assistance services

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