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posted by janrinok on Tuesday December 14 2021, @06:49PM   Printer-friendly
from the WTCIWYG-(What-They-Claim-Is-What-You-Get)? dept.

Looks like Germany is about to force ISPs to actually deliver the speeds they promise in their advertising:

A new regulation coming in the form of an amendment in the Telecommunications Act of Germany could radically change the relationship between consumers and internet service providers. According to the draft, users will be able to test their internet speeds and, if there's a too large deviation between their real-world results and what their ISPs promised, they will be eligible for a bill discount. The discount amount will be comparable to the deviation between the contractually agreed Internet speeds and the actual ones.

[...] According to the German consumer protection authorities, deviations from contractual agreements affect over 50% of internet users in the country. As such, the new law will provide a balancing dynamic and an incentive for ISPs to meet their marketing promises and offer more consistent service quality.

Now if only more consumer services were regulated that way.


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @07:16PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @07:16PM (#1205048)

    Say it ain't so!

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @11:28AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @11:28AM (#1205264)

      Don't worry, this is only in the commie Germany. In the freedom America, companies can promise anything and as long as they deliver something, it's the customers that get screwed.

      • (Score: 2) by cmdrklarg on Wednesday December 15 2021, @05:22PM (1 child)

        by cmdrklarg (5048) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @05:22PM (#1205333)

        Since when are they required to deliver anything?

        --
        The world is full of kings and queens who blind your eyes and steal your dreams.
        • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Wednesday December 15 2021, @09:55PM

          by maxwell demon (1608) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @09:55PM (#1205414) Journal

          I think they have at least to deliver the bill.

          --
          The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by fustakrakich on Tuesday December 14 2021, @07:30PM (5 children)

    by fustakrakich (6150) on Tuesday December 14 2021, @07:30PM (#1205054) Journal

    You won't get it by reelecting the same old relics over and over.

    --
    La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by mcgrew on Tuesday December 14 2021, @08:20PM (4 children)

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Tuesday December 14 2021, @08:20PM (#1205087) Homepage Journal

      It's not re-electing "the same old relics over and over" it's not voting straight party. I don't care if it's his first re-election, if he voted against your values and goals, vote against him. You're hiring someone to do a job. If they did a lousy job, give it to someone else. If he's a good employee (he works for YOU) keep him on even if he's been there 30 years.

      Anyone who isn't a politician who belongs to or identifies with any political party is an utter moron.

      --
      mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Immerman on Wednesday December 15 2021, @12:01AM (3 children)

        by Immerman (3985) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @12:01AM (#1205155)

        Given the fact that almost all politicians vote along party lines in congress (especially at the national level, but pretty heavily at the state and even local level), we're sadly in a place where for most practical purposes a candidate's party is the only meaningful information about them.

        If you want change - get out and participate in the primaries and help get the long-shot candidates on the ballot. By the time the election roles around there's usually not a whole lot you can do except vote for which party you'd rather be screwed over by.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @02:06PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @02:06PM (#1205287)

          Get rid of gerrymandering. In the US turn as many states purple and make the political parties actually try to win you over with arguments and policies, otherwise they have no incentive to actually govern. Take that lying sack of wheelchair shit in NC. The very first thing he did when he entered Congress was to put his ENTIRE staff on "media relations" (i.e., "how to get me on Fox News shows") and NOBODY on policymaking. He sponsors no bills and votes party line. If he actually had to put effort into winning a general election, he would have to put forth some ideas or support policies that go beyond his very narrow primary voters.

          • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Wednesday December 15 2021, @03:04PM

            by Immerman (3985) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @03:04PM (#1205294)

            That'd be a step in the right direction, but you're still voting between two corporate sock puppets whose primary difference is in which side of probably-intractable hot button topics they loudly and publicly beat their chest over, while quietly cooperating with their political "rivals" to sell out our nation to the highest bidder.

            If we really want change we need to get the voice of the people into the halls of power. Personally I think Direct Representation has much to recommend it. Let every citizen choose which sitting Representative they want to support, and in any vote the Reps cast one vote per supporter instead of one vote each. That should destroy corrupt party solidarity, putting every politician in direct competition for personal voting power (supporters) with the most like-minded members of their own party. The real statesmen won't care much since the goal is what's important, not their own power. But for the sellouts... nobody is going to funnel fat bribes to an unpopular Rep with no power, that only holds their seat because of gerrymandering, or because they did a good job of convincing their district that the other candidate was even worse. If they want power, they need to convince voters that they're the best out of all the hundreds of other Reps from their own party.

            That would give voters much more fine-grained control over government direction, since voters will be able to choose a Rep based on subtle policy differences, effectiveness, integrity, and other such "minor" qualities, rather than just the wide gulf between parties. Plus, it means that every voter is actually (and equally) represented, rather than only the slightly-more-than-half who voted for the winning candidate, most of who actually voted for the lesser of two evils rather than someone they truly believed would do a good job. And with luck, having your vote actually matter that much would also encourage citizens to pay a lot more attention to exactly what our politicians are up to. After all, you can't support the best if you don't follow the actions of at least a handful of Reps you think are doing a decent job.

        • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Saturday December 18 2021, @09:08PM

          by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Saturday December 18 2021, @09:08PM (#1206218) Homepage Journal

          If your Republican congressman cuts billionaire's taxes but not yours, vote for the Democrat next time. If the Democrat raises your taxes but not their own, vote for the Republican.

          The last primary I voted in was when Bruce Rauner ran for Governor. I had worked in Illinois government (we were trying to use science to get people off welfare when I started under Thompson). Rauner had three competitors in the primary, all of whom were high ranking members of the Thompson and Edgar administrations, the best I saw until I retired under the incompetent Quinn. Of course, Illinois Republicans picked the very worst, the only one that wouldn't have made a good governor.

          We didn't have a budget his entire single term. You can no more run a government like a business than you can run a business like a government. Billionaire businessmen make lousy civil servants.

          People complain about Illinois taxes, but what do they expect? we had two convicted felons and two incompetents this century (the current occupant seems good, but only in comparison). Of COURSE Illinois is fucked!

          --
          mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @07:37PM (13 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @07:37PM (#1205060)

    My prediction is that this will lead to companies lowering their advertised speeds an d then implementing throttles so that any one customer cannot exceed the advertised bandwidth. e.g., everyone will get lower speeds as a result because it is the best way for a company to guarantee that the shared resource doesn't have slow windows of time causing them to have to payout to customers.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @07:44PM (9 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @07:44PM (#1205063)
      You mean they'd have to be honest in advertising?
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @07:48PM (8 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @07:48PM (#1205070)

        I'm not saying I oppose them being punished for dishonest advertising -- just playing devils advocate and pointing out a potential consequence of a new law. All laws have them.

        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday December 14 2021, @09:23PM (7 children)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday December 14 2021, @09:23PM (#1205113)

          Except the "pouters will be punished" law which retaliates against retaliatory reaction to new regulations.

          So there.

          --
          🌻 [google.com]
          • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Tuesday December 14 2021, @11:50PM (6 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 14 2021, @11:50PM (#1205151) Journal
            Boy, I hope that's not a real thing - at least at that level of generality (I know about stuff like financial structuring [wikipedia.org]). Can you imagine applying that to drivers or taxpayers? At some point, you have to realize that law has unintended consequences as the various parties subject to the law are going to heavily their interests over your relatively good intentions - and settle down for what you can get rather than digging that hole deeper.

            What I find mystifying about this story is that false advertising is already a actionable civil offense. You can get a large trial with thousands of plaintiffs easy. Just have everyone run that bandwidth test. So why isn't that happening? It strikes me that laws shouldn't cover what people can do for themselves rather easily.
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @12:00AM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @12:00AM (#1205154)

              Without the creation of new laws, the legislative bodies can't show their constituents that they're "doing something". So we get a continual stream of new laws, until it's impossible to exist without breaking a law (knowingly or unknowingly).

              What I would love to see is a finite limit to the number of allowed laws. Once you've reached that limit, a new law can only be added by removing an old law. Then statesmen will have to make some actual hard decisions.

              • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @01:57AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @01:57AM (#1205181)

                Not really. There are any number of good laws on the books that they currently can't get rid of without causing a ruckus, but with a system like that they'll have the perfect excuse to cry crocodile tears while making things worse.

            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday December 15 2021, @02:31AM

              by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @02:31AM (#1205188)

              You can get a large trial with thousands of plaintiffs easy.

              Not easily enough to effect change, apparently.

              There are tons of laws on the books that go unenforced because the penalty / payouts aren't attractive enough to get the lawsuits rolling. Throw up new incentives for the sharks (lawyers) and watch them initiate a feeding frenzy that actually effects change in the world, instead of vague platitudes of "it's the law, you have to or I'll waste my life and assets in court suing you to prove you're doing something illegal that has no real penalties."

              --
              🌻 [google.com]
            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by driverless on Wednesday December 15 2021, @11:47AM (1 child)

              by driverless (4770) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @11:47AM (#1205268)

              What I find mystifying about this story is that false advertising is already a actionable civil offense. You can get a large trial with thousands of plaintiffs easy. Just have everyone run that bandwidth test. So why isn't that happening? It strikes me that laws shouldn't cover what people can do for themselves rather easily.

              Read to the bottom of TFA:

              Of course, everyone can take the litigation path and claim their rights in court, but most people would skip this costly and tedious process.

              And businesses are well aware of this, which is why they've been getting away with it for so long.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday December 15 2021, @03:37PM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 15 2021, @03:37PM (#1205298) Journal
                Thought so. It was that or the business being protected from lawsuits.

                My take on this is that government should be the last resort when there's a problem or need out there that can't be addressed any other way. The problems that nobody bothers to do anything about because they're too small don't qualify. This is one of them.
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @07:19PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @07:19PM (#1205350)

              They use the same trick that diet ads use, "Up to". A diet ad may claim you will "lose up to 200 pounds or your money back", this is making two claims you will lose weight and you won't lose MORE then 200 pounds. You see they place a maximal bound on it when all anyone cares about in both cases is the minimal bound.

    • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Tuesday December 14 2021, @08:08PM

      by krishnoid (1156) on Tuesday December 14 2021, @08:08PM (#1205080)

      So Internet data speeds will be sold as a commodity (or as a casino game) rather than bait-and-dont-deliver marketing? Ok.

    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday December 14 2021, @08:25PM (1 child)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 14 2021, @08:25PM (#1205091) Homepage Journal

      Aren't the throttles already in place? I've never downloaded anything faster than the advertised speed. Top speed I've ever seen on the bestest of days was a few k under the 15MB that I pay for.

      --
      Through a Glass, Darkly -George Patton
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @11:45PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @11:45PM (#1205149)

        With slower connections like DSL, I believe you are correct. But with higher speed connections like gigabit fibre, there is a lot less ISP throttling, in my experience. Most individual websites can't actually max your bandwidth, and you need a lot of parallel traffic to max the link.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @07:41PM (6 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @07:41PM (#1205062)

    it's always as advertised ...to the speed-test server hosted by the isp, duh!

    • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Tuesday December 14 2021, @08:26PM (1 child)

      by captain normal (2205) on Tuesday December 14 2021, @08:26PM (#1205092)

      Exactly, my local ISP's own test says I get 58.96 Mbps down, ping.eu says 2.746 Mbps down. I've used ping.eu for more than 20 years, and it seems to be much more honest than the ISP's marketing.

      --
      When life isn't going right, go left.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 17 2021, @04:23PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 17 2021, @04:23PM (#1205828)
        I get my ISP's advertised Mbps when I torrent a popular torrent. But I'm not in the USA...
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by maxwell demon on Tuesday December 14 2021, @10:22PM (3 children)

      by maxwell demon (1608) on Tuesday December 14 2021, @10:22PM (#1205131) Journal

      From my understanding, it's not a speed-test server hosted by the ISP, but a specific approved server that you have to use for your speed tests. But of course, the ISP can give that specific server a preferential treatment anyway.

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by bmimatt on Wednesday December 15 2021, @02:28AM (1 child)

        by bmimatt (5050) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @02:28AM (#1205186)

        My ISP definitely hosts the Ookla server on their network. I had some connectivity speed issues a while ago, and a tech came over. Asked me to do the Ookla test and it showed speed near the one I was paying for. I fired up traceroute and, of course, 4 hops (including 2 in my own house), nice and very low latency. I point that out to the tech and launch the Netflix speed test (fast.com). As I expected, the speed is ~60% of the previous test. So I had a short and pleasant conversation with the guy, where I made sure he understood I know some things about networking and routing, etc. He finally tells me that my ISP does not control systems and switching outside their network, so from their perspective they're doing their job. He was really nice, so I decided to not go into saturation and such on the other side, past the Ookla machines on my ISP's network. I thanked him and called the ISP to downgrade from the "Gigablast - up to 1Gbps download, up to 30 Gbps up" to half of these speeds, to the tune of 25% saving overall.

        That said, being familiar with Germany and the culture, I suspect the situation there is nowhere near the monopolistic abuse we are subjected to here, in the US of A.

        • (Score: 2) by bmimatt on Wednesday December 15 2021, @02:30AM

          by bmimatt (5050) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @02:30AM (#1205187)

          duh... "tune of 25% saving overall" was supposed to be "tune of 25% saving in my billing overall"

      • (Score: 2) by driverless on Wednesday December 15 2021, @11:51AM

        by driverless (4770) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @11:51AM (#1205269)

        From my understanding, it's not a speed-test server hosted by the ISP, but a specific approved server that you have to use for your speed tests. But of course, the ISP can give that specific server a preferential treatment anyway.

        The speed testing is run by the German government's network agency [bundesnetzagentur.de]. I suspect any ISP trying to game that is going to get hit with a lot more than having to give their clients a discount.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by looorg on Tuesday December 14 2021, @07:47PM (6 children)

    by looorg (578) on Tuesday December 14 2021, @07:47PM (#1205066)

    This is one of those things about the economy that just doesn't make sense sort of, to me at least or I misunderstood some aspects of it. But shouldn't everything become cheaper as production increases? Unless overtaken by demand. Which shouldn't be the case here. So your broadband connection should in theory just become either faster and faster while the price remains the same or if the speed stands still the price should go down as they are now selling a no-longer-state-of-the-art product.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @07:57PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @07:57PM (#1205076)

      You missed the bit where monopolies slipped in (while the same companies blather on about the competition...that doesn't really exist).

    • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Tuesday December 14 2021, @08:11PM (1 child)

      by krishnoid (1156) on Tuesday December 14 2021, @08:11PM (#1205082)

      Are you kidding? How else would they extract more cash out of selling higher-tier service if the lower-tier service is good enough and getting better? Sell it as "artisanal" Internet service? That's the most ridicul--hmmmm, wait a second...

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @08:19PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @08:19PM (#1205086)
        Triple HEPA filtered internet service.
    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by fustakrakich on Tuesday December 14 2021, @09:01PM

      by fustakrakich (6150) on Tuesday December 14 2021, @09:01PM (#1205106) Journal

      We can take the first step to improve service and pricing by demanding that the ISPs be classified and regulated as common carriers so they can't meddle with the connection. Their singular purpose is to supply the contracted bandwidth as a dumb pipe.

      --
      La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
    • (Score: 2) by stormreaver on Wednesday December 15 2021, @07:34PM

      by stormreaver (5101) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @07:34PM (#1205354)

      Competition is a key element on the supply side, which is missing in most locations. My area recently got some serious competition. I canceled my Cable internet service, and signed on to the new fiber competition. The fiber competition is half the price of Cable, and the speeds are better by 5x down and by 20x up (symmetrical gigabit for fiber vs 200mb/50mb for Cable). No caps, usage restrictions, etc. for the fiber vs low data caps and severe usage restrictions for Cable.

      Without competition, faster speeds by the incumbents are guaranteed to provide little to no benefit to the subscriber.

  • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday December 14 2021, @08:22PM (7 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 14 2021, @08:22PM (#1205088) Homepage Journal

    Donwloaded and installed the app. No problems, there is a Linux version available. Oooops - it's all in German. I don't see an option to use system language, or to switch to English. Not even English (UK) - the barbarians!!

    It's telling me that my connection is poor, I think. The numbers are just a little lower than most speed tests give me, but within reason.

    Download: 13,76 Mbit/s

    SOLL minimal: 20 Mbit/s
    SOLL normalerweise: 21,25 Mbit/s
    SOLL maximal: 25 Mbit/s
    Upload: 1,03 Mbit/s

    SOLL minimal: 4 Mbit/s
    SOLL normalerweise: 4,25 Mbit/s
    SOLL maximal: 5 Mbit/s

    Messkampagne? Is that run automatically, like the article mentions?

    It all looks like a great idea - run 20 tests over two day's time, average it all out, then decide if your ISP is giving you what you're paying for. If the law applied here, I'm sure I'd get a refund of around 15 to 20%. I seldom see the download or upload speeds that I'm paying for.

    --
    Through a Glass, Darkly -George Patton
    • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Tuesday December 14 2021, @08:50PM (5 children)

      by captain normal (2205) on Tuesday December 14 2021, @08:50PM (#1205100)

      You may not like to use chrome (I really don't blame you), but in chrome if you right click (or just click if you use apple), you will be presented an option to translate the page. I don't know if you can do that in firefox or whatever the browser du jour for M$ is now.

      --
      When life isn't going right, go left.
      • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @08:56PM (4 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @08:56PM (#1205102)

        Real Men(TM) open a tab for translate.google.com and paste their German into the box. None of this sissy one or two click stuff!

        • (Score: 1, Troll) by maxwell demon on Tuesday December 14 2021, @10:25PM (2 children)

          by maxwell demon (1608) on Tuesday December 14 2021, @10:25PM (#1205132) Journal

          Why would you use Google Translate when you can use DeepL?

          --
          The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @10:55PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @10:55PM (#1205138)

            Looks like there are advantages to both,
                https://revolutionized.com/deepl-translator-vs-google-translate/ [revolutionized.com]
            Thanks for the lead.

          • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday December 14 2021, @11:46PM

            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 14 2021, @11:46PM (#1205150) Homepage Journal

            I'll echo AC here: Thanks for the tip. There's a desktop app for Windows and MacOS, but not for Linux. There's an iOS app, but not Android. I'll test drive the web version for awhile. So far, it looks pretty good.

            --
            Through a Glass, Darkly -George Patton
        • (Score: 2) by driverless on Wednesday December 15 2021, @11:53AM

          by driverless (4770) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @11:53AM (#1205272)

          Real Men(tm) have learned German.

          You know, just in case.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @11:51AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @11:51AM (#1205271)

      https://breitbandmessung.de/test [breitbandmessung.de]

      There is also one in browser.

      Laufzeit* 16 ms
      Download 269,22 Mbit/s
      Upload 26,22 Mbit/s

      You are probably getting shit performance because this is for German networks. It's a little funny you are not blocked if you are not in Germany.

      BTW, I pay 40€ (it's price with VAT here) for 250/25 connection, so it seems OK. I was paying that for 200/12 but that was discontinued and I got bumped to the higher speed for same price which is what they advertise now anyway so it's not some discount or something.

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