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Germans say Internet crucial to life



Federal court rules loss needs to be compensated


A German court has ruled that the Internet is an important commodity, and people should be compensated for the loss of it.

The German Federal Court of Justice has ruled that because having an internet connection is so significant for a large part of the German population, a customer whose service provider failed to provide connectivity between December 2008 and February 2009 is entitled to compensation. It is the first time a court ruled that an Internet connection is as important a commodity as having a phone.

The plaintiff was disconnected by mistake and demanded that the unnamed telecommunications company pay for costs that incurred in switching to a new provider. He wanted €50 per day for the period his was unable to use his DSL, fax over IP and VoIP services, according to the court. The Federal Court, however, awarded compensation only for loss of the internet connection. Compensation for the loss of a fax connection was denied.

This was because a fax only enables the user to send text and images faster than conventional mail and the technology is increasingly becoming irrelevant. While a phone connection is an important commodity, the plaintiff was also denied compensation for loss of his VoIP phone line since he owned a mobile phone.

Last modified on 27 January 2013
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