At the end of 2021, a new reform of the Telecommunications Act came into force. This not only provides for the right to fast internet, but also that the connection must be “affordable”. However, no one has yet been able to agree on what this affordable, fast Internet should cost.
On December 1, 2021, a new reform of the Telecommunications Act came into force. This was intended to accelerate fiber optic expansion in Germany and strengthen consumers’ right to fast Internet. But not only at the required minimum speed there is trouble. While the Federal Council called for a download rate of 30 megabits per second, the industry association VATM considered this requirement unworkable. Now the Federal Network Agency has published principles with which a price for the “affordable” Internet could be determined. However, the exact costs are still to be evaluated.
Monthly price has not yet been determined
In order to determine the “affordable costs” for the basic service, the average prices for connections in the district should serve as a reference. However, regional characteristics should also be taken into account. For example, connections in the mountains could be more expensive than in the lowlands. It is not yet known in which price range the basic service with the Internet may lie. According to the Association for Telecommunications and Value-Added Services (VATM), the principles are still to be evaluated.
The federal association of broadband communication (Breko) criticized the technology-neutral view, which is supposed to take effect when determining the average prices. This would disadvantage companies that would build fiber optic connections to implement the new law. The realization of this connection is more expensive, especially in rural areas.
The technology-neutral consideration of average prices would also rule out the inclusion of satellite internet, such as Elon Musk’s Starlink, for the basic service. However, with the help of satellite Internet, consumers who have hitherto been poorly supplied could be made available within a very short time higher bandwidths than the required minimum bandwidth.