Router Required: Consumer Advocates Warn Internet Service Providers

The Rhineland-Palatinate Consumer Advisory Center warned Vodafone and German fiber optics. The reason: The companies violated the legal provisions in the free choice of router.

The Rhineland-Palatinate Consumer Advisory Center warned the two network operators Vodafone and German fiber optics. According to the association, companies are failing to comply with freedom of choice requirements for Internet routers, consumer advocates write on their website. Freedom of choice has been required by law since 2016 and allows customers to use their own devices such as modems or combination devices in which a modem is integrated into the router.

“Under the law, the liability of the telecommunications provider stops at the endpoint of the so-called passive network,” the consumer advocates said. In the case of a VDSL connection, this is the telephone socket, in the case of a wired connection, the cable socket, and in the case of a fiber optic connection, the fiber optic connection socket .

The permanently installed modem cannot be replaced

In practice, however, most fiber optic providers install a permanently installed fiber optic modem in apartments. Savvy providers have made it “often very difficult, if not impossible” for their customers to use their own combination devices. They also informed their customers when ordering that the supplier’s fiber optic modem should be used.

From the perspective of consumer advocates, customers should be told when signing the contract that they can use their own fiber optic modem or combo device in addition to their own router. The advantage of combined devices is that only one device is needed, which consumes less energy.

Moreover, after a few years, the rent for the supplied modems exceeds the purchase price of the router. “Even the argument that rental routers would be replaced free of charge in the event of a fault” is implausible, say consumer advocates. The two-year legal warranty applies to purchased routers. In addition, there is often a voluntary warranty of up to five years from the date of purchase.

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