The minimum bandwidth for Internet access in Germany will be increased in mid-2023, downstream from 10 to at least 15 Mbit/s, upstream from the current 1.7 Mbit/s to a higher value. The federal government promised this in June 2022. In return, the Bundesrat passed the federal government’s controversial draft for a regulation on the minimum requirements for the right to the provision of telecommunications services (TKMV). Alone, the government has not kept its promise.
The corresponding amendment to the TKMV to keep the promise given will probably take some time to come. The Federal Network Agency has advertised “various expert opinions” that are required for a preliminary evaluation of the still relatively new regulation. However, the final results are still not available. “The evaluation and legally secure adaptation of the TKMV is only possible on the basis of a solid empirical basis,” emphasizes the federal government in a recently published response to a request from the CDU/CSU parliamentary group. “For this purpose, the results of the currently ongoing reports on possible additional quality parameters, on determining a household-specific database, on usage behavior in multi-person households and on suitable transmission technologies must be awaited and evaluated.” The lack of time became apparent as early as spring.
So far toothless
The Federal Digital Ministry admits that the implementation of the previous claim to fast Internet has caused heated arguments and that consumers have not benefited from it so far. As of June 30, 2023, 1,502 citizen complaints were being processed according to the response to inquiries. In twelve cases, the regulatory authority has actually identified undersupply, affecting a total of 29 parcels.
One of the twelve cases is now sufficiently supplied with mobile communications, the remaining eleven complainants are still starving. Ten of these relate to Lower Saxony and one to North Rhine-Westphalia – all of them new buildings. In none of the original twelve cases did a network operator agree to set up a connection with the minimum bandwidth. So far, the regulatory authority has not imposed any relevant obligation on any telecommunications provider. Actually, this should be done within four months at the latest.
The government assures that the procedures in which undersupply has been determined “will be continued quickly”. However, telecommunications companies have filed a lawsuit against all previous decrees: They “are currently in litigation”. There are already seven complaints from end users about the delays. The Federal Network Agency has 22 positions available for processing submissions and enforcing minimum claims within the framework of the TKMV, of which only 15 are currently occupied.
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