Mandatory router: Consumer advocates warn internet providers

The Consumer Advice Center Rhineland-Palatinate has warned Vodafone and the German optical fiber. The reason: the companies have violated the law in the free choice of the router.

The consumer advice center Rhineland-Palatinate has warned the two network operators Vodafone and German optical fiber. According to the association, companies do not comply with the requirements for the freedom of choice of Internet routers, write consumer advocates on their website. Freedom of choice has been required by law since 2016 and allows customers to use their devices as modems or combination devices where a modem is integrated into the router.

“Under the law, the telecom provider’s liability ends at the so-called passive network termination point,” consumer advocates said. In the case of a VDSL connection, this is the telephone socket, in the case of a cable 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 suppliers install a permanently installed fiber optic modem in apartments. The warned vendors have made it “often very difficult or even impossible” for their customers to use their combined devices. They also informed their customers when ordering that it was necessary to use the provider’s fiber optic modem.

From the point of view of consumer advocates, customers should be informed at the time of signing the contract that they can use their own fiber-optic modem or a combination device in addition to their own router. The advantage of combined devices is that only one device is needed, which consumes less energy.

Also, after a few years, the rent of the supplied modems exceeds the purchase price of the router. “The argument that hired routers are replaced free of charge in the event of a defect” is also implausible, according to 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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