German Parliament Agrees to Ban Branded WiFi Routers
Beginning of November the German parliament (Bundestag) finally approved a new law that prohibits Internet Service Providers from forcing standardized WiFi routers on their customers. The new legislation amending the law on Radio Equipment and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment (FTEG) and Telecommunications Act explicitly prescribes the right for consumers to freely choose their WiFi routers. Moreover a new definition in Sec. 45 d (1) states that the public telecommunications network terminates at a passive network termination point. Thus the controversial term “network termination point” now clearly refers to the consumer’s wall plug and network providers will no longer be able to claim that WiFi routers are part of their networks.
The draft proposal has been questioned and returned to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy by the German Federal Council (Bundesrat) representing the states. Referring to critical comments made by network providers during a prior consultation period the Bundesrat asked the government to re-examine the proposal and to reconsider the definition of a passive Network Termination Point with regard to FTTH – and cable networks. Taking into account network providers’ concerns that WiFi routers that are not compatible with their own equipment could interfere with their networks and affect the use of new vectoring technology, the Bundesrat also called on the government to introduce additional safeguards under Sec. 11 FTEG.
The government however refused to change the draft legislation stating that consumers were already required to make sure that their equipment is appropriately connected to the telecommunications network under Sec. 11 (4) FTEG and were also liable for potential damage under German civil law.
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Practice Group: Telecommunications
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