Anyone who has an expensive Internet contract and still complains about an unreliable Internet connection should go through life a little less frustrated in the future. After all, the Federal Network Agency has now stipulated that poor Internet entitles the consumer to a reduction in costs. This regulation is to apply from December 2021.
Contractual obligations must be fulfilled
If you sign an Internet contract that promises 50 MBit/s, you ultimately want to surf the World Wide Web at precisely that speed. What should actually be self-evident is unfortunately not the case in many cases. If your Internet connection is weaker than promised by your provider, you should be able to reduce your monthly fee starting this December. This has now been determined by the Federal Network Agency. The experts now want to discuss the criteria that must be met for a reduction. After market participants were also consulted following a draft, there should soon be a final regulation. In particular, the size of the deficit is to play a major role. After all, a reduction at 48 MBit/s instead of 50 MBit/s, for example, would be nonsensical.
Consumer rights are to be strengthened
In recent years, one could observe a commendable trend in Europe. Thus, consumer rights have been increasingly strengthened within the framework of various directives. This is also the case in the amendment to the Telecommunications Act 2021. However, one must first take a closer look to understand the extent to which consumers are now granted an extensive right of reduction. Up to now, it was already possible for customers of an Internet provider to reduce their monthly payment. The prerequisite for this was a miserable quality of the Internet line.
However, it is a real mammoth task to put the right to a reduction into practice. The reason for this is not least the corresponding evidence that the line is not in accordance with the contract. This is where the Federal Network Agency’s new desktop app comes in. Under the domain www.breitbandmessung.de, it should be possible to carry out a representative measurement of the speed. Corresponding results are then to be valid to justify a reduction in costs.
“Significant, continuous or regularly recurring”
The Federal Network Agency does not name a blanket value above which one can reduce the contribution. Instead, there is a right of reduction for the consumer if there is a “significant, continuous or regularly recurring deviation in speed.” The amount of the reduction should be based on the contractually agreed and actual bandwidth. Certainly, simple percentage calculation should help here. So if you are contractually guaranteed 50 Mbit/s and ultimately only receive just under 25 Mbit/s, you should be able to reduce the price by 50 percent.
The providers are now also subject to an extensive duty to provide information. Internet providers must make it clear at the time of signing the contract what standard speeds the customer can expect. In particular, the maximum and minimum transmission rates play a role here. However, the average speed is also important so that the customer does not buy a pig in a poke. However, this is also a safeguard for the provider itself. After all, he can ultimately refer to the information if a customer wrongly reduces the price.