German Government Approves Legislation to Ban Branded Wi-Fi Routers
On 12 August the German government approved a new legislation to ban branded Wi-Fi routers that was drafted by the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy in spring.
The new legislation adapting the German legislation on Radio Equipment and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment (FTEG) and the Telecommunications Act (TKG) is aimed at preventing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from forcing branded routers on consumers in future. The new version of Section 2 of the FTEG defines telecommunications terminal equipment as equipment which is directly or indirectly connected to an interface of the public telecommunications network. Moreover the adapted Sec. 45 of the TKG refers to a passive Network Termination Point which means in a nutshell that ISPs networks terminate at the consumer’s wall plug. Thus ISPs will no longer be able to claim that standardized routers are part of their networks. The new rules will still allow for ISPs to offer standardized routers. Customers can however no longer be forced to use these routers but can freely choose alternative hardware. ISPs will have to provide their customers with the technical details that are necessary to connect their devices to the network. If they fail to comply with this obligation ISPs can be fined up to 10.000 Euros.
The new laws will end a long battle between consumer associations faulting high costs and security issues of branded routers and ISPs arguing that adequate costumer support requires standardized hardware. It is however not yet clear when the German parliament is going to vote on the legislation. Once enacted the legislation would also be subject to a transition period of six months.
Any questions? Please contact: Dr. Michael K. Bergmann or Pascal Schumacher
Practice Group: Telecommunications
Further article: German government releases planned draft legislation to ban branded WiFi routers