Right to Fast Internet: CSU Politician Calls Traffic Light Plans ‘A Sign of Poverty’

The right internet speed
CSU politician calls traffic light plans ‘a sign of poverty’

While network operators advertise gigabit speed, a portion of the rural population is far from that download speed when it comes to the Internet. A new legal claim must now put an end to the snail’s worst pace. But the CSU politician doubts that.

A digital policy spokesperson for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group fears that the federal government’s “right to a high-speed internet” will achieve nothing. Reinhard Brandl, a politician at CSU, said the legal entitlement would not bring any advantage to families in remote locations because the relatively poor satellite internet would also be included. “The federal government wants to comfort citizens in these peripheral areas of the legal right to basic services with the right to satellite — that’s an indictment.” The decree was later discussed at the Digital Committee of the Bundestag.

The opposition politician points to a paragraph in the regulation that requires the inclusion of the weak satellite Internet. This means: If you’re just getting a lousy terrestrial internet connection in your house at the edge of the woods, going to the FNA won’t help you much. Since the regulatory authority can simply determine that the local supply is poor, but the so-called geostationary Internet is available – then the “right to fast Internet”, as the set of rules is called, will be fulfilled.

This should only apply in exceptional cases where the authority makes a decision on a case-by-case basis. “But it’s not entirely clear how many households will be affected except for the satellite,” says Brandel. According to his reading, the regulation is worded so vaguely that the authority can often refer to the Internet via geostationary satellites. Then consumers in remote areas will have to carry on as before, and their Internet access will still be poor.

The best satellite internet deletion

The new legal claim aims to ensure that there is internet access everywhere in Germany at a speed of at least 10 megabytes per second for downloads and 1.7 megabytes for uploads with a latency – that is, reaction time – of a maximum of 150 milliseconds. Due to the latency requirements, the geostationary Internet with distant rockets in space does not actually play a role, and its latency is much higher.

According to Brandl, geostationary satellites should be removed from the list. Then, affected consumers will have better cards with the Federal Network Agency and the authority will likely arrange the transfer of landline connections or improve the mobile network more often.

Starlink is too expensive

Starlink, the satellite internet of American technology pioneer Elon Musk, plays no role in the legal right to fast internet. Although near-Earth satellites allow much better transmission than cheap geostationary satellites, they are also much more expensive. According to the legal claim, the Internet must be affordable – so Starlink will not be included in order for the legal claim to be considered fulfilled.

The name “Right to Fast Internet” is also misleading. Because the new legal entitlement won’t make it really fast – the vast majority of web surfers get much better downloads at home than a mere 10Mbps. However, the set of rules is important, as it is the first legal entitlement to broadband internet. In addition, the minimum will increase year by year because it is derived from the general use of the Internet – and as consumers book better and better contracts, the minimum requirements will also increase.

Who is actually affected?

How many households already have internet connections of less than 10 megabits at a snail’s pace? This is not clear. In a statement issued by the Federal Network Agency, there is talk of “potentially affecting approximately 330,000 households.” However, this value refers to families with a download connection of less than 16 Mbps. There is no number indicating the 10 Mbit specification in the regulation.

Politician CSU Brandl considers the list to be unambitious. The rule set is “a real blow to families with children and employees working from home two years into the pandemic.” The green light from the Federal Council and the Bundestag Digital Committee is still missing for the decree to enter into force.

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