Status of compulsory routers in Germany

In Germany ISPs started to force customers to use specific routers, and did not offer them the usernames and passwords to use routers of their own choice. Together with dedicated volunteers from OpenWRT, IPFire and other volunteers, our current intern Max Mehl and I worked on this issue.

First we wrote a letter to the German Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) highlighting the most important points. When the BNetzA officially asked for comments we published the letter which we have sent them. This already gave us good press coverage in the IT media and also got a lot of feedback from different communities, which we included in our further work.

For the last weeks Max and our volunteers did an amazing job answering 14 detailed questions and several subquestions from the BNetzA.

On the 4 November we published a press release together with the 14 pages reply. Other organisations also published their statements step by step (see the CCC’s paper, or the statement from 19 router vendors. It resulted in good press coverage, most of the time mentioning FSFE, starting with Heise, Golem, and Netzpolitik. Then it also reached the newspapers, magazines and and television news sites: Sueddeutsche, Stern, Focus, Frankfurter Rundschau, Zeit, ZDNET, and several local newspapers.

A little bit later Heise reported that the topic made it into the draft for the coalition agreement between CDU/CSU and SPD. They want to forbid compulsory routers in future, and make sure that the BNetzA has to act in future. So if this part stays in there, and they act upon it later, it is a good result for the Free Software community, and all individuals and companies who wants to control their own IT.

In the next weeks Max will summarise our main points into English, so in case you have or will have similar problems in your countries you can reuse them. In case that happens, please inform us.

Again a big thank you to all the volunteers working with us on this!!

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