This year, Christmas comes early for European online shoppers, but not for consumers of Netflix and other digital content.
As of December 3, 2018, the new EU geo-blocking ban will apply to online businesses that sell their goods and services in the EU Member States.
The regulation will make it possible to shop across EU borders at online retailers such as Amazon, who previously automatically redirected shoppers to other versions of their websites that featured different catalogs and prices based on the user’s location.
Does this mean you will finally be able to watch the newest Doctor Who episode on the BBC iPlayer straight out of Amsterdam? Let’s take a look at the European Commission’s examples of what exactly will be banned:
• Example A: “A Bulgarian consumer wishes to buy hosting services for her website from a Spanish company. She will now have access to the service, can register and buy this service without having to pay additional fees compared to a Spanish consumer.”
• Example B: “An Italian family can buy a trip directly to an amusement park in France without being redirected to an Italian website.”
• Example C: “A Belgian customer wishes to buy a refrigerator and finds the best deal on a German website. The customer will be entitled to order the product and collect it at the trader’s premises or organise delivery himself to his home.”
Notice anything missing? We do, too: the ban only affects physical goods and services and exempts Netflix, as well as other digital content providers services such as Amazon Prime, Spotify, and Steam, in addition to transport services like Ryanair. Which means that EU citizens will still be banned from streaming geo-blocked Netflix libraries in other countries or buying plane tickets at better prices.
So, at least for this Christmas, Spotify gift cards for your former bandmate who now resides in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Wales (yes, it’s an actual town), are off the table. As are geo-blocked Netflix libraries.
Fortunately for those unwilling to spend another aeon waiting for the sluggishly turning gears of the EU Leviathan to belch out another consumer-friendly regulation, there are other, considerably faster options. Check them out in our Best VPN for Netflix list.