Deutsch Telekom, which provides Internet services for over 60 percent of German users, has announced that it will begin restricting data access for all its landline broadband customers starting in 2016. At bottom, once a user reaches the proposed download limit — 75 gigabytes a month — the speed would slow to 384 kilobits per second. The company claims that most customers average 20 gigabytes per month and would not be affected by the change, and plans to offer upgrades for an as-yet-unspecified fee. Interestingly, downloads from the company’s own television service, Entertain, will be exempt, but downloads from other services, such as YouTube, will not.
What’s the Big Idea?
Unlike two of its competitors, which offer specific low-cost data plans with restricted access, Deutsche Telekom will be the first ISP to apply its restrictions across the board. Small and midsize businesses will be hurt the most, says Oliver Grün, president of a group representing their interests: “[F]reelancers and the self-employed…would be thrown back to the 1990s in terms of Internet speeds.” Consumer groups and government officials are investigating whether the proposed changes violate European Union law and network neutrality principles.
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