Federal Network Agency obliges providers to provide basic internet service

# Bridging the Digital Divide: A Milestone Ruling in Germany

In a groundbreaking move, the Bundesnetzagentur (Federal Network Agency) of Germany has mandated an unprecedented utilization of the right to basic utilities, enforcing the provision of minimum service standards in telecommunications. This decision has marked a turning point by compelling a service provider to supply a household in Lower Saxony with adequate internet and telephone services. Despite advancements in technology, regions like rural Lower Saxony continue to grapple with poor internet connectivity—a challenge this order aims to address.

The crux of the problem came to light when a consumer lodged a complaint about the exorbitant cost of obtaining an internet connection. Subsequently, the Federal Network Agency confirmed a case of underservice and took the necessary steps to rectify the issue.

Klaus Müller, President of the Bundesnetzagentur, articulated the essence of this initiative, stating, „In both professional and private spheres, sufficient internet and phone coverage is vital. Everyone is entitled to reasonable services, and we are ensuring this right through a pilot procedure in the interest of consumers.“ He also hinted at ongoing reviews and potential adjustments to the crucial values defined in the regulation, in collaboration with the Ministry of Digital Affairs and the Digital Committee of the Bundestag (German federal parliament).

An original deadline of one month was set for all active telecommunications providers in the market to offer minimum services voluntarily. Following a lack of willing compliance, a mandatory procedure was initiated, involving providers of both wired networks and mobile or satellite connections in the area.

### Setting the Standard: 10 Mbit/s Minimum Download

Details regarding the specific provider targeted by this mandate remain undisclosed. However, the company is now obliged to meet legal requirements for basic service provision, currently defined as a minimum of 10 Mbps for downloads and 1.7 Mbps for uploads, with latency not exceeding 150 milliseconds. The pricing for these services is also regulated, with recent discussions suggesting a cap around 30 euros per month.

Though the provider has the option to contest the decision in court, this development offers a hopeful glimpse into efforts aimed at eradicating digital disparities.

The importance of this enforcement extends beyond a single case, with the Bundesnetzagentur currently examining around 130 additional complaints. The right to telecommunications services has been enforceable since December 2021, with the regulation stipulating the current minimum service standards coming into effect in June 2022.

This decisive action by the Federal Network Agency heralds a new era in ensuring digital inclusion, emphasizing the importance of accessible and affordable telecommunications services for all citizens. As this legal framework continues to evolve, it will be pivotal in shaping a digitally equitable landscape, guaranteeing that connectivity, a cornerstone of modern life, is within everyone’s reach.
source: https://www.ifun.de/bundesnetzagentur-verpflichtet-anbieter-zur-internet-grundversorgung-229098/

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