• Germany's news in English
 
Court rules internet access a basic right
Photo: DPA

Court rules internet access a basic right

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
'50 Shades of Grey' to premiere in Berlin
The book comes to the screen Photo: DPA

'50 Shades of Grey' to premiere in Berlin

Smut sensation "50 Shades Of Grey" will receive its international premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, it was announced Monday. READ  

Man tries to open plane door over Munich
Photo: DPA

Man tries to open plane door over Munich

A man tried to open the emergency door of a plane as it was approaching Munich airport, police reported on Monday. READ  

Reporter sacked over Pegida 'interview'
Last week's Pegida protest in Dresden, which drew a crowd of 15,000 Photo: DPA

Reporter sacked over Pegida 'interview'

An undercover reporter who allowed himself to be interviewed by a rival TV network whilst taking part in an anti-Islamization demonstration in Dresden has been sacked, Spiegel reported Monday. READ  

'We have to take care of Isis victims': minister
A Yazidi woman at a Hannover demonstration against Isis in August.

'We have to take care of Isis victims': minister

The government plans to set up a trauma centre for victims of a mass rape campaign by the Islamic State (Isis) militant group, Overseas Development minister Gerd Müller said on Monday. READ  

Adidas sells three million World Cup shirts
World Cup-winning manager Joachim Löw accepts the award at a gala in Baden Baden on Sunday Photo. DPA

Adidas sells three million World Cup shirts

Football fans have snapped up a total of more than three million replica kits of their world-cup winning heroes, Adidas announced, with much of that boost coming in the run-up to Christmas. The team were also honoured as Germany's "Sportsmen of the Year" on Sunday. READ  

Good news for your Christmas overdraft
Photo: DPA

Good news for your Christmas overdraft

Shoppers who go into the red on their bank account over the Yuletide period have received some early festive good news, with a plan to clarify Germany's complex rules on overdrafts. READ  

Amazon pledge: Xmas pressies will arrive
Striking Amazon workers outside a distribution centre in Leipzig on December 8th. Photo: DPA

Amazon pledge: Xmas pressies will arrive

Online retailer Amazon said on Monday that walkouts at distribution centres across the country wouldn't affect Christmas orders as the strike spread across Europe. READ  

Armed heist at Berlin's top department store
The aftermath of the raid at Berlin's luxury department store Photo: DPA

Armed heist at Berlin's top department store

Stunned shoppers looked on in horror as masked robbers made a daylight raid at Germany's most exclusive department store on the busiest shopping day before Christmas. READ  

Security tests find holes at Frankfurt airport
Security checks at Frankfurt airport in July 2014. Photo: DPA

Security tests find holes at Frankfurt airport

Weapons and dangerous objects were successfully smuggled through security checks 50 percent of the time at Frankfurt airport, in a probe by European Commission inspectors, it emerged on Sunday. READ  

Breakfast stumble costs Berlin giraffe her life
Kibaya before her fatal fall Photo: DPA

Breakfast stumble costs Berlin giraffe her life

One of Berlin Zoo’s most popular attractions has had to be put down, after tearing a muscle in her leg. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Willy Brandt at his inauguration in 1972. Photo: DPA
National
Willy Brandt: the man, the chancellor... the airport?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Sponsored Article
Why are these International Baccalaureate students cheering?
Germany's national football team lifts the World Cup trophy
Gallery
Germany's most-Googled words of 2014
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Sponsored Article
Top ten gifts for an expat Christmas
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Stuff your face with these festive German cookies
Photo: DPA
Culture
What do beer, breakfast cereal and dildos have in common?
Culture
The Local's guide to German Christmas markets
Sponsored Article
Top five quirky Christmas jumpers
Photo: DPA
Culture
Get ready for Christmas like a German. We tell you how.
Photo: DPA
Munich
She did what with her dead mother?
Photo: DPA
National
Germany still paying for crisis fall out
Photo: DPA
Culture
Saxon wurst is the worst, Christmas market declares.
Photo: DPA
Politics
Can 'sorry' ever be enough for the Linke?
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles through December 19th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
See how Berlin has changed in 22 photos
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
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

3,130
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd