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Germany’s regulator rules on zero-rating case

The German telecoms regulator, Bundesnetzagentur, has issued a decision on Deutsche Telekom's zero-rated StreamOn offers, ruling that the scheme is legal, but the company must make some modifications, notes ZDNet. The European Union enshrined net neutrality in law a couple years back, but the new rules do not explicitly mention zero rating. Instead, it was left up to EU member states’ telecoms regulators to decide how the practice should be treated in the light of the law. They agreed a common approach last year, essentially saying services being offered for free should not gain too much of an advantage over their non-zero-rated rivals. “However, since then we have not seen one of those regulators make a major decision about a zero-rated service; until now. And with Germany being so influential among its EU peers, this decision by the Bundesnetzagentur was keenly awaited.” Deutsche Telekom's StreamOn offers in Germany are very similar to the Binge On scheme offered by American subsidiary T-Mobile US, in that they let people stream music and video without it counting towards their data caps. Media providers must partner with Deutsch Telekom (for free) in order to participate. Importantly, the best-quality video-streaming is reserved for certain monthly subscriber packages. “Consumer advocates have long opposed StreamOn, with the Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (VZBV), an umbrella body for regional consumer rights associations, calling for Deutsche Telekom to simply offer higher data caps that could be used for all services.” Read more

  • Wednesday, 25 October 2017

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