• Germany's news in English
 

Court rules internet access a basic right

The Local · 25 Jan 2013, 11:10

Published: 25 Jan 2013 11:10 GMT+01:00

Using the internet and having an email address were a modern necessity, the federal court judges decided on Thursday. Should the provider be at fault when an internet connection fails, its customers would now be able to claim damages.

While amounts have not been finalized, the court said that it would likely not be large sums and that if a customer had a smartphone with internet access, the payout would be even less.

The court compared the situation to when a car owner claims damages after an accident. They may usually claim around 40 percent of the vehicle's worth from the party at fault. This would be around the same for internet users but of a monthly tariff payment.

Behind the ruling is a case put forward by a man who was cut off from the internet when his provider was purchased by another firm. He could not access his internet for two months due to an administrative error.

He took 1&1, the telecom firm which bought out his original provider, to court and demanded €50 a day in damages for each day he could not get online, use his landline or his fax machine.

The court decided that he was within his right to claim damages for the internet. But his mobile served as a replacement for his landline and fax was not a daily necessity.

German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said that the ruling showed “how fundamental the internet has become for an informed life.” And that the decision was a recognition of the fact that using the internet was a basic right in Germany.

DAPD/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

11:38 January 25, 2013 by raandy
I like this ruling. I have had trouble with my connection for years when the weather is damp I have no service.It cost you money to call your provider ,who says the line belongs to DT and I will put in a notice to them. Three or four months later a person from DT comes. He asks to see the connection, walks around and tells you that it is not DT, round and round we go.The end result is you still have an in and out connection.It takes 3 months to cancel , but that does not mean you will have internet because your previous provider must free the line, at least that is what I was told, went 2 months after cancellation was completed with no provider had to use a surf stick from O2.

Hopefully this will give the user a little more clout, but here in Germany, Iam not so sure,service is an oxymoron here.
11:58 January 25, 2013 by michael4096
It will be interesting to see if this ruling affects the ridiculous regulations giving DT the power of life and death over copper to the home but no compulsion to provide a service...
12:36 January 25, 2013 by beckyhead
Telekom truly is the worst, and the monopoly they have over the infrstructure is wrong in so many ways. What's worse is that your neighbour can have a superfast connection, while you are stuck with a 2Mb conection (if you are lucky) with no chance DT will ever upgrade...and its a poor connection at that.

Recenly, KD extended their services out here for fast internet and HD cable capability. However, we are stuck in a contract that provides horrible service. DT has no regard for its customers.
12:56 January 25, 2013 by ichbines
I lost my internet and telephone for 4 straight days recently and it was an extremely pleasant experience. I think we should have to pay when it happens.
13:53 January 25, 2013 by The-ex-pat
I went on a course for 6 weeks last November/December. I came home at weekends. When I returned to the course on a Sunday night, I discovered that I had left my phone at home. At first this was a major problem until I realised that it was not a major problem, just an inconvenience. Come the second day without, it was quite liberating....

However, this is not about rights, it is about contractual agreement. As usual some judge is barking up the wrong tree when applying "his" interpretation of the law. A basic right, he has opened the flood gates....H IV, prisoners and well anyone without........
14:22 January 25, 2013 by Englishted
"A top German court ruled this week"

Anyone else notice what is wrong with the above?

Then I will tell it says a top German court ,not the top German court so , next week another top German court can over rule and give the providers the whip hand again .

It is the same as a article in the local :Parents not liable if kids download illegally

Published: 16 Nov 12 07:47

Yet other courts are ignoring the ruling and are still fining parents .

I will as again could the "local" look into this and provide some clarity .
16:12 January 25, 2013 by catjones
Time to put an internet rider on the long list of riders for my legal insurance plan, right below I-can't-find-my-keys rider or the what-if-I-get-a-whimsical-judge rider.
17:09 January 25, 2013 by Reader75
I had absolutely no problems with internet service provided by Deutsche Telekom when I lived in Heidelberg a few years ago. Access was reasonably fast and I do not recall any downtime.

That said, now that internet service has been a declared right, can we expect free WiFi from hotels???
21:12 January 25, 2013 by jg.
ichbines "I lost my internet and telephone for 4 straight days recently and it was an extremely pleasant experience. I think we should have to pay when it happens."

You pay me and I'll come around and take your broadband router away for however many days you would like. Would that give you the same experience?
09:16 January 26, 2013 by Enough
We will all see if this helps their crappy customer service or not.
16:46 January 28, 2013 by raandy
I would like to add, that I recently switched to Kabel Deutschland , it is 10x faster than DSL, no buffering and when the whole family is online it does not change.

The service at first seems ok,They came in but a small box on my cabel connection and a wifi router, works super.

ichbines... When I lost my service for a week , It was not a pleasant experience.
Today's headlines
Migrants crisis
German media and celebs rally for refugees
A welcome party for refugees in Heidenau on Friday. Photo: DPA

German media and celebs rally for refugees

29 minutes ago

Germany may have witnessed violent anti-refugee protests this week -- but the message from the country's media and celebrities is a loud and determined welcome for people fleeing the horrors of war.

Buzz grows over Poland Nazi treasure train
Ksiaz Castle in Poland, around where the treasure is fabled to be. Photo: Drozdp, via Wikimedia Commons

Buzz grows over Poland Nazi treasure train

5 hours ago

Poland's deputy culture minister has claimed to have seen a ground-penetrating radar image of the alleged Nazi train that has set off a gold rush, adding that he is 99 percent sure it exists, while other sources claim the treasure has already been found.

Migrants crisis
Mass pro-refugee rally held in Dresden
Photo: Oliver Killig / Picture Alliance / DPA

Mass pro-refugee rally held in Dresden

8 hours ago

Thousands of people took to the streets of the German city of Dresden on Saturday to welcome refugees, an AFP journalist at the scene said, following a string of violent anti-migrant protests in the region.

Migrant crisis
Austria refugee tragedy suspects appear in court
Screen shot from video by Andi Schiel

Austria refugee tragedy suspects appear in court

1 day ago

Four defendants were to appear in court in Hungary on Saturday over Austria's migrant truck tragedy, as a "horrified and heartbroken" UN chief called for international action to end Europe's refugee crisis.

German court: Ban on refugee demos must stay
Anti-refugee demonstrators carry a sign accusing Chancellor Angela Merkel of being a "traitor to the nation" this week in Heidenau. Photo: DPA

German court: Ban on refugee demos must stay

2 days ago

Update: A German court on Friday night reinstated a ban on rallies in an eastern town hit by violent anti-migrant protests, overturning an earlier decision that found the restriction to be "illegal".

Footballers gone wild
Neuer's 'glass palace' angers idyllic village
Tegernsee is a famous beauty sport. Photo: DPA

Neuer's 'glass palace' angers idyllic village

2 days ago

Villagers in the picturesque Bavarian region of Tegernsee are bristling at World Cup-winning Germany goalkeeper and Bayern Munich star Manuel Neuer's plan to build a huge glass villa on the shores of their beautiful lake.

Interview
'Berlin is kind of like the best American city'
Canadian composer and performer Owen Pallett. Photo: Brian Vu

'Berlin is kind of like the best American city'

2 days ago

The Local speaks with Oscar-nominated Canadian musician Owen Pallett about performing at legendary Berlin club Berghain - and just why the world's artists are so fascinated with the German capital.

Germany name squad for crunch Scotland match
Liverpool's Emre can has been called up to the Germany squad to face Scotland and Poland. Photo: DPA

Germany name squad for crunch Scotland match

2 days ago

Liverpool's uncapped defender Emre Can was on Friday called up to the Germany squad for the world champions' forthcoming key Euro 2016 qualifiers against Poland and Scotland.

How Brits in Germany are facing Brexit fears
How will life for Brits in Germany change if the Brexit happens? Photo: DPA

How Brits in Germany are facing Brexit fears

2 days ago

Greece is the talk of the town this year. But in 2016, it will be Britain questioning its EU membership. The referendum outcome could be life altering for many Brits living in Germany.

Honest senior rewarded for handing in €12,000
An 87-year-old pensioner found the cash in the bin. Photo: DPA

Honest senior rewarded for handing in €12,000

2 days ago

After throwing away €12,000 this week, a landlord in North Rhine-Westfalia thought he'd made one of the most expensive blunders of his life. But the money made it home safely, police said on Friday – and all thanks to an honest pensioner.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

National
Weekend of anti-refugee violence shocks Germany
National
Half of Germans 'have had sex in their car'
Society
Deadly stew spooks home vegetable gardeners
Politics
The man who brought two Germanies together
Features
Where to get your culture fix in Cologne
Education
Fairytale world of Brothers Grimm brought to life
Rhineland
Thieves leave 1,000 open beers untasted
National
Way to some Germans' hearts is through their wallets
National
Germany's biggest challenge: European refugee crisis
Travel
Where to get your adrenaline pumping in Germany
Technology
Could thieves hack into luxury cars?
What to watch out for when snapping your lunch
National
German lefties through history
National
The fight over prostitution heats up
National
Merkel: migrants, not Greece, are the real challenge
Features
How I explained the Queen to the Germans
Education
Why Germany does 'back-to-school' traditions better
National
Germans are ‘not how foreigners think’
National
A mum and daughter reunite 70 years after WWII
Sport
Bra stops bullet in hunting mishap miracle
National
Cows trample German woman to death in Graubünden Alps
Business & Money
Start-up helps new Berliners short cut bureaucracy
National
The 1,000s of Germans massacred after the Second World War
Sport
Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Features
'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,013
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd