The Bundesnetzagentur has published its third report on the enforcement of the provisions on net neutrality in Germany. The Annual Report 2018/2019 covers the period from 1 May 2018 to 30 April 2019.
The provisions on net neutrality are set out in Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 on open internet access. This Regulation aims to establish common rules to safeguard equal and non-discriminatory treatment of traffic in the provision of internet access services and related end-user rights. It aims to protect end-users and simultaneously to guarantee the continued functioning of the internet ecosystem as an engine of innovation.
The Annual Report 2018/2019 focuses on the following issues: safeguarding open internet access, transparency measures, supervision and enforcement as well as penalties. It covers major activities of the Bundesnetzagentur related to the following issues:
- the investigation of business models and commercial practices (Article 3(2) in conjunction with Article 3(1)), including zero-rating offers and handling of consumer complaints relating to connectivity problems due to a lack of provision of publicly available IPv4 addresses and to problems with the use of services;
- investigation of traffic management measures by internet access service providers (Article 3(3));
- investigation of transparency measures (Article 4(1)), including handling of consumer complaints relating to low data transmission rates (Article 4(1) first sentence point (d) in conjunction with Article 4(4));
- operation of a quality monitoring mechanism (section 43a(3) TKG, Article 4(4) and Article 5(1)).
Previous Annual Reports:
BEREC publishes Guidelines on Net Neutrality
The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) has published Net Neutrality Guidelines on 30 August 2016. Prior to this, BEREC conducted a public consultation for 6 weeks (closed 18 July 2016, 14:00 CET).
Regulation 2015/2120 which entered into force in November 2015 serves as the basis to safeguard net neutrality. According to the Regulation the national regulatory authorites have to monitor compliance of the provisions and to promote continued availability of non-discriminatory internet access servcies. The Regulations obliges BEREC to issue guidelines on net neutrality.
The BEREC Guidelines substantiate the provisions of the Regulation, in order to contribute to a consistent application in practice. Major issues are zero-rating, traffic management provisions, requirements for the provision of specialised services as well as increased transparency provisions for the providers of internet access services.
Comprehensive information can be found here: http://www.berec.europa.eu/eng/netneutrality/
Key aspects of the Guidelines are explained in a fact sheet.
2013: rate changes of Deutsche Telekom for Internet accesses
Deutsche Telekom changed its price structure for fixed-network Internet accesses with effect from 2 May 2013. This evoked an intensive public echo. A key element in the changes implemented for new contracts is a volume limit. When this limit is exceeded, the bandwidth of the end customer's access is reduced to 384 MBit/s. This relates to the debate on net neutrality because it is planned to exclude certain services from the volume limit.
Against this background the Bundesnetzagentur addressed a number of questions to Deutsche Telekom on 26 April 2013. Deutsche Telekom answered the Bundesnetzagentur's question in a letter dated 15 May 2013. Further questions resulted from these answers. Therefore, follow-up questions were submitted to Deutsche Telekom with a letter dated 28 May 2013 to which Deutsche Telekom replied in its letter dated 7 June 2013.
The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology requested the Bundesnetzagentur to promptly submit a report concerning the results of this exchange. Based on Deutsche Telekom’s first answer the Bundesnetzagentur on 6 June 2013 submitted a preliminary report. On 14 June 2013 the Bundesnetzagentur submitted an updated report supplemented with Deutsche Telekom’s answers dated 7 June 2013.
In this report the answers submitted by Deutsche Telekom first summarised and then assessed, taking special account of the requirement that net neutrality in the sense of strict equal treatment be observed. Preliminary conclusions are drawn and further action is outlined. Section 2 addresses the general provisions of the rate model (5-7, 9), Section 3 focuses on transparency questions (8, 10, 11) and Section 4 deals with questions relating to net neutrality in a narrower sense (1-4). Section 5 lists questions that have yet to be answered and critical points regarding these areas. The answers submitted by Deutsche Telekom on 7. June 2013 are summarized and evaluated in section 5.4.
Its concerning the rate changes which Deutsche Telekom AG implemented for Internet accesses as of 2 May 2013.
Enclosures to this report are available in German only: