Court Rules That Throttling Back Broadband Speeds Is Not Fair

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Phone carriers in Australia are taking note of a court ruling in Germany that saw their largest phone Company Deutsche Telekom told that it is unlawful to throttle back their home broadband service to a lower speed when a customer exceeds data allocations on a flat-rate package.An Optus executive said “it is an interesting decision and one that could result in an action being taken in Australia along similar lines”.

The GermanCourt said that plans due to come into force that would force customers down to a significantly slower connection than one they had originally paid for once they reach a data limit can no longer take place.

The plan being argued would have throttled the connection speed to 2Mbit/s once the limit is reached, reports Reuters. Considering that some subscribers live in areas where fiber networks exist and pay for a 200Mbit/s connection, the throttled connection would allow for just one percent of the bandwidth they would normally receive. An earlier plan would have seen connections restricted to just 384Kbit/s, but public outrage earlier this year forced Deutsche Telekom to be more lenient.

The district court of Cologne advised that the proposed plans would be an unreasonable disadvantage to the customers. Verbraucherzentrale NRW, the consumer lobby group that brought the case to the court in the first place, said that there is now no legal basis for an Internet speed cap after this ruling.

Deutsche Telekom is expected to appeal the ruling.

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