02.05.2018

German Federal Network Agency releases installable version of broadband measurement software

The Federal Network Agency today released an installable version of its broadband measurement software. It is now a relatively simple task to carry out a minimum number of individual measurements and log the results. The test results can be used by consumers to prove to their provider that the service being supplied is not compliant with the contract.

“The desktop app makes it possible to check the contractually agreed download data transfer rates in the fixed network. The measurement results are intended to provide support to consumers when dealing with their telecommunications provider”, says Jochen Homann, President of the Federal Network Agency. “The desktop app is a fair compromise between the interests of the consumer and the telecommunications sector. Using the app, it is possible to carry out the necessary measurements within a short space of time so that consumers can approach their provider with reliable results”, emphasises Homann.

The measurements are carried out manually. This enables significantly greater control over the measurement environment and thus greater legal certainty. When automated measurements are used, unwanted parallel data traffic can occur, for example, through the parallel streaming of films, which can have a negative effect on the measurements.

Disruptive influences in the end-consumer measurement environment are ruled out by technical means wherever possible, for example, measurements via wireless LAN at the device, or users are clearly informed of possible error sources before measurement takes place.

 

Notification of deviations in broadband speeds in the fixed network

According to the regulations under European law relating to broadband connections in the fixed network, every significant, continuous or regularly occurring deviation in speed or in other service quality parameters between the actual and specified service is regarded as not being in compliance with the contract. The Federal Network Agency published a communication on this back in July 2017.

Specifically, the Federal Network Agency is of the opinion that the service does not comply with the contract if, for download with fixed network broadband connections:

  • At least 90 percent of the contractually agreed maximum speed is not reached on at least two measurement days or
  • The normally available speed is not reached in 90 percent of the measurements or
  • The minimum speed falls short of the contractually agreed figure on at least two measurement days.

The communication also contains specifications for verifying deviations. The verification should be done by means of the installable version of the Federal Network Agency’s broadband measurement software. The Federal Network Agency considers it necessary to have at least 20 measurements taken on two different days. In addition, the measurements should be taken with a LAN connection.

 

Market consultation on the desktop app

The current release of the installable version was preceded by a comprehensive consultation process with market participants. The Federal Network Agency held a workshop last summer to discuss the requirements for the desktop app with market representatives. In addition, a test version was made available at the end of 2017.

All market participants made extensive use of the various options and took an active role in the process. Many suggestions made by the workshop participants were included in the final version of the desktop app now released.

With regard to the data protection aspects of the installable version, the Federal Network Agency has held discussions with the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information and has specifically coordinated the data protection regulations with the commissioner.

The desktop app developed by zafaco GmbH can be downloaded from www.breitbandmessung.de. The website also contains a description of the app and comprehensive FAQs. The Federal Network Agency’s consumer service has set up a complaints procedure to support consumers with their concerns regarding their telecommunications providers.