Deutsche Telekom invites a kicking, and gets one

In May DT announced that it would introduce a fixed broadband throttling scheme in 2016 (giving it plenty of time to u-turn if the public turned nasty or the government resisted). Under new T&Cs, customers who go over their data allowances (which start at 75 Gigabytes) will be throttled for the remainder of the billing period down to 384kbit/s, although data used for DT's video service would not count against the total (the throttle has since been relaxed to 2Mbit/s after the predictable howl of protest).

Why do it? The usual: Data demand was growing too fast, people were using lots of video and it was clogging the network (or would do so by 2016). The other (real) reason: users were starting to up their OTT video viewing to the possible detriment of DT's own video service. Most people wouldn't be affected, said DT, only the very heavy users.

If DT was looking to test the political water, it seems to have worked: there was an immediate public outcry against the planned cap and 200,000 signatures were quickly applied to a petition to get DT to change its mind.

Now the German government appears to have responded too. According to Der Spiegel the economy ministry plans to introduce net neutrality by the end of the current legislative session. It will make sure Deutsche Telekom and the other Internet service providers give equal treatment to content providers, said the German magazine.

If the Economy Ministry and the government follow through Germany now looks likely to be the third (after The Netherlands and Slovenia) EU country to enshrine net neutrality in law.

The outstanding question is: is DT so detached that - even after the Dutch experience - it didn't see this coming?

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