Europe to Unveil Single Digital Market

The European Commission has revealed its plans for a "single digital market" which is a unified, borderless regulatory framework for the internet across the continent.

The market aims to be the online equivalent of the existing EU market and is set to tackle cross-border parcel delivery, simplify VAT and change media rules.

This may mean that on-demand TV services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Sky Go are available to everyone, regardless of which EU country they're in, as these services are often "geo-blocked".

The commission says that one of their objectives is that "EU residents can enjoy the same online content and services regardless of the EU country they are in."

It is also thought that parcel deliveries will be made cheaper, allowing internet users to browse foreign online stores without paying significantly more to have goods shipped. Extensive data roaming charges incurred abroad could also be abolished.

The plans are said to be announced at a midday conference in Brussels by Andrus Ansip, the EU digital single market commissioner and former Prime Minister of Estonia.

The European Commission estimates that the plans could create up to £250bn in additional growth, and that only 7% of small businesses sell across EU borders.

A partner at technology investment firm Passion Capital Eileen Burbridge said: "This definitely makes a tangible difference to consumers' lives, because it's going to make things much more efficient for the member states, which will transfer into better services and better products - because companies are investing in products, not in overseeing regulation.

"It will absolutely make consumers' lives better."

The digital single market aims to boost Europe's home-grown technology businesses to compete against the large US firms such as Facebook and Google.

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