Netflix is already the industry leader worldwide when it comes to streaming video, but it’s about to get a whole lot better for subscribers living in Europe.
Under new proposed legislation from the European Parliament, online content providers will have to stop using a customer’s IP address as a means of identifying their location. The new measures apply to only paid subscription service. Free content services will be left to determine on their own who they want their content to be available to.
This means two big things for Netflix subscribers: it means that customers who travel often between countries will be able to access all of their usual content no matter where it Europe they go (something that’s long been a frustrating problem for many subscribers), and it means that subscribers in Europe will have access to content from across the globe with no geographical restrictions.
In the US, where international travel isn’t as common, these restrictions aren’t much of an issue. But in Europe, where the nations are much smaller and international travel much easier, not having access to content they’ve paid for simply because they’re using the service in another country was likely one of the biggest complaints people had about streaming content online, not just Netflix.
While the use of VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) to defeat geo-locating restrictions is a common practice online, many large companies like Netflix and MLB.TV actually restrict their use. Thanks to this legislation though, the need to use those will be gone.
The legislation hasn’t passed yet, but it is expected to. Parliament member Brian Hayes said, “While this agreement still must be formally approved, this is another step towards breaking down barriers in the single market of 500 million people and good news for people traveling to other EU countries on business, holidays, or to study.”