The Federal Council has cleared the way for the legal entitlement to a basic Internet service. On Friday, the federal states approved an ordinance by the Federal Network Agency, which also sets certain minimum standards. In a resolution, the majority of the countries also pushed for further improvements, since the new regulation that has now been decided does not meet the expectations of the citizens of “fast Internet”.

The new regulation is to come into force retrospectively as of June 1st. The aim is economic and social participation for everyone through a “digital safety net”, it said. Citizens who previously did not have sufficient access to internet or voice communication services now have an individual legal right for the first time.

The background is an EU directive that obliges the federal government to provide a so-called universal service guarantee. According to the regulation, companies will have to provide bandwidths of at least 10.0 megabits per second (Mbit/s) for downloads and at least 1.7 Mbit/s for uploads. The latency – i.e. delay time – must not exceed 150.0 milliseconds (ms).

In the additional resolution, the Bundesrat called on the federal government to quickly develop the minimum coverage against the background of the constantly increasing technical requirements for Internet access and voice telecommunications services. The specified bandwidths are not sufficient, especially in multi-person households, the reason given. According to the Federal Council, the Federal Network Agency also sees the new ordinance only as a first step.

The Federal Association of Broadband Communications (Breko) welcomed the fact that the Federal Council ultimately approved the ordinance despite concerns. “The demands for higher bandwidths and latency requirements were not justifiable from a legal or technical point of view,” it said. However, the association also warned that the right to basic Internet service should not become a brake on the expansion of fast fiber optic lines.