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German ISP imposes data caps, discriminates in favour of own services

24 April, 2013

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Deutsch: Deutsche Telekom drosselt das Internet

On 22 April 2013, the biggest German Internet operator Deutsche Telekom officially confirmed abandoning all contracts that offer flat rates for fixed Internet connections. Instead of investing in urgently needed broadband infrastructure in Germany, the operator announced starting throttling connections and introducing contracts with the following data caps:
- Rates with a speed up to 16 Mbit/s: 75 GB
- Rates with a speed up to 50 Mbit/s: 200 GB
- Rates with a speed up to 100 Mbit/s: 300 GB
- Rates with a speed up to 200 Mbit/s: 400 GB

As soon as these caps are exceeded, the Internet connection will be slowed down to 384 Kbit/s. However, this will not include Telekom's own streaming services, the so-called "T-Entertain" programs. Moreover, music streaming service Spotify will be favoured ahead of its competitors - limiting the market for legal online music. After years of demanding that ISPs become gatekeepers, the music industry has finally got what it asked for.

Civil society groups in Germany harshly criticised Telekom's decisions and called for a legal protection of network neutrality, which would prohibit any anti-competitive discrimination. EDRi-member Digitale Gesellschaft condemned the decision as a “retrograde move back to the level of the 1990s”.

The decision of Deutsche Telekom confirms that Commission's wait and see approach on net neutrality is increasingly unsustainable. Only a few days earlier, the European Consumers' Organisation (BEUC) and EDRi warned the Commission in a call for action that "reckless experimentation will continue unless the European Commission puts a stop to it."

Call for Action sent to the European Commission (04.2013)

Digitale Gesellschaft: Telecom tariff changes: frontal assault on net neutrality (only in German, 22.04.2013)

Der Spiegel: The Telecom strangled the Internet (only in German, 23.04.2013)

(Contribution by Kirsten Fiedler - EDRi)



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