The Internet of ThingsNew regulations facilitate free Wi-Fi for German consumers

Today, the so called "Router-law" comes into force. As part of the amendments to the telecommunication media act and combined with the "Wi-Fi-law", these regulations aim to facilitate public Wi-Fi usage in Germany. This strengthens the opportunities and rights of German consumers in the digital world. The following aspects are essential:

  • The "Router-law" terminates the so-called router necessity. That is, end users of telecommunication providers can now purchase any suitable terminal device and use it to connect to the telecommunications network.
  • Moreover, from now on network operators are obligated to hand out the necessary access data without being asked.
  • Following the "Wi-Fi-law", effective since July 27, 2016, private people and businesses providing internet hotspots (for instance cafes, hotels or community centers) are not liable for damages in case of legal infringements by users of their Wi-Fi and are hence not liable to prosecution.
  • The so-called "Störerhaftung" (Breach of Duty to Care), that is the liability of providers for removal and omission, was abolished. This guarantees all Wi-Fi providers the essential legal security to extend current business practices and to promote new business models as well.

Matthias Machnig, state secretary of the Federal Minister for Economics and Technology, noted: "The 'Wi-Fi-law' that recently came into force brings us one large step closer to our goal of having public Wi-Fi-hotspots in Germany. This will help us to benefit from the enormous social and economic potential of wireless networks. The business practice of network operators to stipulate that customers should use particular devices for connecting to the public telecommunications network, has annoyed many consumers. As of now, this has come to an end. With the ‘Router-law’ we create not only more competition on the market for devices, but also strengthen consumers’ sovereignty and self-determination."

Source: Federal Ministry for Justice and Consumer Protection

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