A new regulation coming in the form of an amendment to the German Telecommunications Act could radically change the relationship between consumers and ISPs.
According to the draft, users will be able to test their internet speeds, and if there is too much discrepancy between their results in the real world and what their ISPs promised, they will be eligible for a bill discount.
The discount amount will be comparable to the difference between the contractually agreed internet speeds and the actual ones.
To determine their connection speeds, customers need to use the official internet speed measurement app provided by the German Federal Networking Agency.
The measurement process includes 20 tests on two consecutive days, divided into ten tests each day.
This method ensures that any speed deviations are recurring and / or continuous and are not the result of a short-term hiccup on the network.
If the internet download and upload speeds are below 90% of the promised figures from the ISP, the customer will be entitled to a discount.
According to the German consumer protection authorities, deviations from contractual agreements affect over 50% of internet users in the country.
As such, the new law will provide a balancing dynamic and an incentive for ISPs to fulfill their marketing promises and offer more consistent quality of service.
Right now, in most parts of the world, consumers are paying a fixed price in step-by-step contracts and getting the speed that is technically possible for their placement.
This approach often leaves consumers offended compared to others who pay the same amount for the same service package but who happen to benefit from better speeds.
Of course, anyone can take the case and claim their rights in court, but most people would skip this expensive and tedious process.
From that perspective, German law, which introduces the right to invoice discounts, is a significant benefit for consumers. We can only hope to see similar legislation in other countries soon.
The new law goes into effect in December 2021, and given that regulators submitted the draft in September, they were quick to embrace it and move things forward.