How good bad is your internet

Internet slow: you can do that

The stream keeps breaking off during the football broadcast. When downloading the new program, the progress bar crawls with difficulty. And when uploading documents for the tax return, acceptance is refused due to timeout. The Internet is paralyzing in many households - as complaints at the consumer advice center in North Rhine-Westphalia show.

Because Internet providers often advertise with high "up to" bandwidths, frustration is great if the advertised high-speed connections do not arrive. Then you have the following options:

Exclude sources of error

It's not always the line. Because also outdated drivers of the network card, poor WiFi reception, too many cookies in the browser, incorrect router settings, unsuitable cables or anti-virus programs can slow down the speed. Sometimes the old trick of switching the internet router off and on again helps.

What speed is due

In the product information sheet, providers must indicate the download and upload speeds that you can normally expect from the Internet service. You must be made aware of this document, among other things, before concluding the contract. It is usually also available on the provider's website. The guideline values ​​given in the product information sheet are the yardstick for determining whether the agreed speed actually reaches the customer.

Measure correctly

The Federal Network Agency offers a measurement tool on broadband to check the surfing speed. Zip code, name of the provider and the tariff booked as well as the maximum data transfer rate specified in the product information sheet are the key to putting the current transfer rates to the test when downloading and uploading. At the end there is a detailed log that records all relevant data and documents deviations from the maximum values. The measurement results should be saved as a printout or screenshot. The Federal Network Agency recommends 20 measurements on two different days to the same extent (at least ten measurements per day) in order to be able to prove permanent underperformance. Important: The computer must be connected to the router with a network cable in order to correctly measure the Internet connection.

We deal with the tool in more detail in the Questions and Answers on Slow Internet Connections.

Deviations with consequences

If the actual internet speed deviates significantly, continuously or regularly recurring from the agreed one, the contractually guaranteed service will not be fulfilled. You can then request remedial action from the provider. The Federal Network Agency names three requirements for this:

  • If 90 percent of the contractually agreed maximum speed is not reached at least once on at least two measurement days,
  • if the normally available speed is not achieved in 90 percent of the measurements
  • or if the agreed minimum speed is not reached on at least two measurement days.

Insist on remedial action

If the internet connection is demonstrably worse than contractually guaranteed, you should inform your provider in writing of the problem and set a reasonable deadline for remedying it. Two weeks is usually enough. If the speed remains behind the agreed upon or if it is technically impossible for the provider at your place of residence to provide the contractually agreed services on a permanent basis, the contract can be terminated for cause.

For sample letters and other explanations of how best to proceed, see the questions and answers about slow internet connections.

Change of tariff as a way out

If your telephone company also offers cheaper tariffs that only offer the measured lower speed from the outset, you should request a corresponding tariff change or contract adjustment. Make sure that the minimum contract period of 24 months does not start all over again and that there are no costs for the change. In addition, you should find out whether other providers offer Internet services in your location and, if necessary, switch there.