Wow, this is really awesome news for folks who live in European Union member states or who travel there frequently. The European Parliament recently voted in favor of eliminating roaming fees across wireless carriers who operate inside the member states.
That means if you live in Ireland, for example, and want to take a trip to Austria for a week, you aren’t going to be paying out of your nose for wireless coverage during your trip. The move is one step closer to European Commission vice president Neeli Kroes’ promise to abolish the fees by 2015, as part of a 2013 initiative called “The Connected Continent.”
“Nearly all of us depend on mobile and internet connections as part of our daily lives,” Kroes said. “We should know what we are buying, we should not be ripped-off, and we should have the opportunity to change our mind. Beyond the highly visible barrier of roaming we are now close to removing many other barriers so Europeans can enjoy open, seamless communications wherever they are.”
The agreement also prevents service providers from trying to stifle data speeds depending on use-case scenarios — that’s similar to the ongoing net neutrality fight in the U.S., though the E.U. is moving in a much more free and positive direction.
Members of the European Union now need to work on finalizing regulation agreements, which is expected to occur by the end of this year.