updated 02:28 pm EDT, Wed October 30, 2013
Plan to cap speeds on fixed broadband connections stopped by German court
A court in Germany has ruled that Deutsche Telekom cannot throttle its home broadband service to a lower speed when a customer exceeds data allocations on a flat-rate package. Plans due to come into force in 2016 that would force customers down to a significantly slower connection than one they had originally paid for once they reach a data limit can no longer take place.
The plan being argued would have throttled the connection speed to 2Mbit/s once the limit is reached, reports Reuters. Considering that some subscribers live in areas where fiber networks exist and pay for a 200Mbit/s connection, the throttled connection would allow for just one percent of the bandwidth they would normally receive. An earlier plan would have seen connections restricted to just 384Kbit/s, but public outrage earlier this year forced Deutsche Telekom to be more lenient.
The district court of Cologne advised that the proposed plans would be an "unreasonable disadvantage to the customers. Verbraucherzentrale NRW, the consumer lobby group that brought the case to the court in the first place, said that there is now no legal basis for an Internet speed cap after this ruling.
Deutsche Telekom is expected to appeal the ruling.
This is not the only bandwidth-related legal issue that the company faces. Earlier this year, the headquarters of Orange, Deutsche Telekom, and Telefonica were raided by European Union officials as part of an investigation into throttling the bandwidth of Internet backbone connections. The three telecommunications companies were accused of not provisioning sufficient bandwidth for the services from specific Internet companies.