How you could soon pay less if your internet is too slow in Germany

How you could soon pay less if your internet is too slow in Germany

It’s a question many of us ask ourselves (and our internet providers): “Why is the internet in Germany so slow?” Thankfully, soon you could be entitled to compensation if your internet speeds are below the contractually agreed bandwidth. 

Get compensation for slow internet speeds in Germany

Whether you’re working from home or just streaming TV in the evenings, slow internet is a nuisance most people in Germany are probably familiar with. It can be especially frustrating if your contract promises much higher speeds than you’re actually getting. 

The good news is that a new piece of legislation, part of the Telecommunications Act, will come into effect on December 1, to significantly improve the consumer’s position against their internet provider. If you’re consistently getting sub-par internet speeds, you will in future be entitled to reduce your monthly bill. 

Users will have to measure internet speeds with official app

Of course - this is Germany - and so the process is not necessarily as simple or as streamlined as you might hope. In order to successfully apply to reduce your payments, you will have to use the Federal Network Agency’s new broadband measurement app on your computer. This requires you to connect to your network via an ethernet (LAN) cable, rather than on WiFi. 

And you will have to take these measurements several times. According to a draft law submitted in September, users will have to take 10 measurements on two different days to qualify. If 90 percent of the contractually-agreed maximum speed is not reached at least once on both days, the right to reduction applies. 

According to the law, the entitlement exists in the event of “significant, continuous or regularly recurring deviations.” Consumers with disrupted coverage could apply to have their payments “reduced by the ratio to which the actual performance deviates from the contractually agreed performance.” 

Simply put: if your internet speed is half as fast as promised, you pay only half the price. You can use the measurement app to make a report to your internet provider, who is then compelled to act. 

New law offers better protection for consumers

This is not the first time the government has legislated on behalf of the consumer against slow internet speeds; consumers can already request lower payments if they receive less than what is promised. However, the new measurement app should give a more binding basis for consumers to make claims of lagging internet speeds - previously some claimants were forced to go to court. 

Consumer advocates in Germany were enthusiastic about the new law. Susanne Blohm, digital consultant at the Federation of German Consumer Organisations, said: “This is one of the greatest achievements in consumer protection.” 

She said it amounted to a very clear indication to internet providers that they have to describe contracts realistically and can no longer make unreasonable advertising claims. 



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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