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Global Economy

Few customers enforce price reduction

Few Internet users take the opportunity to log their Internet speed in order to demand a price reduction from their broadband provider. The number of measurements has decreased in recent months.

According to the Federal Network Agency, around 22,000 measurements were completed between mid-December and the end of June using the broadband measurement app provided by the authority. This means that the number of measurements has recently been declining, because according to the network agency, around 15,000 measurements had already been carried out by consumers by the end of February. In the four months that followed, only around 7,000 were added.

Most of the measurements show deficits

A majority of citizens could probably push through a price reduction for Internet access. According to the Federal Network Agency, the measurements made "almost exclusively" determined a reduction claim.

Such a claim exists if the Internet is worse than contractually agreed. There are specifications for the maximum, minimum and normally available bandwidth. The Federal Network Agency has made a desktop app available that can be used to check this.

Too slow internet is standard

Only a few weeks ago, the authority confirmed again that Internet access in Germany in many cases does not guarantee the transmission speeds that were contractually guaranteed to customers. Across all bandwidth classes and providers, the contractually agreed maximum download speed was only fully achieved or exceeded by 36.5 percent of users in the fixed network.

In the measurement period from October 2020 to September 2021, 83.5 percent of users received at least half of the agreed maximum data transmission rate. According to the information, the general level in mobile communications was even significantly below that in the fixed network. Only 2.6 percent of the users fully reached or exceeded the contractually agreed maximum data transmission rate in the download.

According to consumer advocates, the measuring tool is too complex

From the point of view of consumer advocates, the price reduction claim is not yet well known to many customers. In addition, the Federal Network Agency's measuring tool is very complex to use, as Felix Flosbach from the North Rhine-Westphalia consumer advice center says: "This is a hurdle that is too high for many consumers – even though their Internet at home is lousy." The legally binding measurement option requires 30 tests over several days. Only then is a measurement – also known as a "measurement campaign" – complete.

It is also unclear how high the price reduction will be after a non-contractual Internet speed has been determined. Users must clarify this with their provider directly and always on a case-by-case basis. According to consumer advocate Flosbach, Internet providers still often sell unrealistic data speeds: "Unfortunately, there is still a big gap between marketing and reality in communication in the telecommunications industry."

Industry sees a positive trend

On the other hand, the industry has a different assessment of the numbers of measurements. According to a company spokesman, Vodafone sees the declining number of speed tests submitted as "a positive sign that our ongoing network upgrade is being received by our customers."

The industry association VATM also considers the "very low number of complaints" to be proof that "the vast majority of users are satisfied with their Internet connections". Fluctuations in the download speed are also normal, especially with copper lines. They do not automatically mean a worse possibility of using the Internet connection.

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