German Court Bans Internet 'Throttling' by Deutsche Telekom

Telekom's move to restrict broadband speeds would have made it nearly impossible for customers to use a VOD or IPTV platform other than its own Entertain service.

COLOGNE, Germany – A German court has ruled that Germany's leading Internet service provider, Deutsche Telekom, can not throttle Internet speeds to restrict broadband access for customers who do not use Telekom's IPTV service Entertain.

A court in Cologne on Thursday ruled in favor of a consumer watchdog group that had sued Telekom after the company introduced a clause in its contracts that would let it restrict broadband access speeds for customers after a certain limit had been reached. The restrictions would not apply to customers who also signed up for Telekom's Entertain service.

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The court ruled that the throttling would pose “an unreasonable disadvantage” to customers, who would not be able to effectively use competing VOD or IPTV services. Streaming of video online would be nearly impossible with Telekom's restricted speeds and even regular web surfing would be considerably slower.

The court ordered Telekom to remove the restrictions and reintroduce true net neutrality for all its customers.

Telekom is expected to appeal the decision.