Internet too slow? Users may pay less in the future

It happens time and again that the fixed-network Internet does not provide the desired speed that is contractually agreed. But customers no longer have to put up with this and will soon be able to reduce the basic fee for their Internet contract if the restrictions persist.

By law, customers already have the right to reduce the basic charge for their Internet connection if their provider is unable to deliver the contractually guaranteed speed on a sustained and significant basis. In individual cases, extraordinary termination is even possible. Both of these points are set out in the Telecommunications Act (TKG), which will be revised in 2020, and are intended to strengthen consumers’ rights. However, it has not been easy for consumers to enforce their rights when the Internet is too slow. But that is now set to change.

Slow Internet? When customers have a right of reduction

Anyone who has much worse Internet at home than promised by their provider can reduce payments to them from December 1, 2021. The Federal Network Agency has published its draft for the concrete design of consumer rights. The list of criteria is about how large the deficits have to be before customers can make use of the right to reduce payments. The criteria apply to downloads and uploads for fixed-network broadband connections; mobile connections are excluded.

Right to compensation in the event of Internet disruption and missed technician appointment

According to the draft, users affected by slow Internet must take ten measurements of Internet speed on each of two different days. If 90 percent of the contractually agreed maximum speed is not achieved at least once on both days, there is to be a right to reduce the fee.

This is also to be the case if the normally available speed is not achieved in 90 percent of the measurements. Customers will also have the right to reduce the price if the contractually agreed minimum speed is not reached on two measurement days.

“Our planned specifications are intended to help consumers assert their new rights. We are also creating certainty for providers,” said Jochen Homann, President of the Federal Network Agency. All interested parties can now comment on the draft until October 5.

Measurements with “breitbandmessung.de

It is true that it was already possible to reduce the payment to the Internet provider if the speed was too slow. However, it was difficult for consumers to enforce this right. That is set to change: In the future, anyone who takes measurements with the desktop app “breitbandmessung.de” from the Federal Network Agency will be able to use these values to justify a reduction in monthly payments.

It is already clear how much less you can pay: in the event of a “significant, continuous or regularly recurring deviation in speed,” you can be reduced by as much as the gap between actual and contractually agreed performance.

Sources

  • Federal Network Agency (retrieved on September 09, 2021)
  • Draft as PDF

With material from dpa

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