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Router Freedom: German telcos want to exclude fiber

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German network operators have requested the national regulator Bundesnetzagentur to start procedures to exclude Router Freedom from fiber networks. In a consultation, the FSFE picks apart all the telcos’ arguments and calls on the regulator to respect consumer rights.

Image showing diverse ports of a router

The German telecommunications regulator Bundesnetzagentur, has opened procedures to analyse a request made by fiber network operators requesting to exclude Router Freedom from fiber networks. The request contains the fiber operators’ arguments, including security of the network, cost of support, quality of service and interoperability issues.

In the public consultation (in German) the FSFE has called on the regulator to dismiss the request since it goes against the German law and the EU regulatory framework of net neutrality, which has clearly set rules safeguarding freedom of terminal equipment for end-users. Although the network operators have tried to pose fiber networks as a special case, we have demonstrated that there is no objective technological necessity to abolish Router Freedom. On the contrary, Router Freedom represents also for fiber freedom of choice, security, consumer welfare, fair competition and sustainability.

The FSFE’s arguments were also supported by empirical data collected in the comprehensive Router Freedom survey, where more than 1.600 participants have stated their problems with ISPs hampering their rights to use their own routers and modems.

Illustration showing a graphic with answers about router freedom principles
Router Freedom is key for a neutral, fair and secure Internet access

"German fiber networks are pushing the boundaries against Router Freedom. However, telcos were not able to prove the necessity to revisit the law, making their request void. We call on the Bundesnetzagentur to consider end-users rights and interests and safeguard Router Freedom in fiber networks".

- Alexander Sander, FSFE’s Senior Policy Consultant.

You can download the FSFE’s consultation paper here (in German)