Surf the web at a fixed price and chat via the fixed network – that’s possible with double flat rates. Here users will find the current best offers for network speeds of 50, 100 and 250 megabits per second.

The federal government, the federal states and the Federal Network Agency are arguing about an “appropriate” regulation on the minimum bandwidth for the “right to fast internet”. The Federal Cabinet had already approved an initial regulation on May 4, 2022.

However, the ordinance already initiated by the grand coalition could not – as planned – come into force on June 1, 2022. Because there was no “green light” from the Federal Council. Why?

The specialist committees of the state parliament classified the plans of the federal government as too “unambitious and not up to date”: While the federal government and the Federal Network Agency advocated a minimum bandwidth of ten megabits per second (Mbit/s) for downloads and 1.7 Mbit/s for uploads, they did The Transport Committee of the Federal Council strongly advocates download speeds of at least 30.8 Mbit/s and upload speeds of at least 5.2 Mbit/s.

The Committee for Consumer Protection in the Federal Council also approved this, since the technical specifications of the Federal Network Agency for fast Internet do not meet today’s requirements, according to the committee.

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In addition to the dispute about performance criteria, the “right to fast internet” also provides fuel for network expansion: This is how the Federal Network Agency Telekom

Especially since this exemption grants companies the option of also using wireless access technologies such as satellite and mobile communications for the realization of an Internet connection within the framework of the right to the provision of telecommunications services. With regard to the smooth transmission of data, such wireless technologies are not a real alternative to broadband.

Be that as it may: Despite all the misgivings from the specialist committees, the Federal Council still grudgingly approved the ordinance of the Federal Network Agency on June 10 – and thus the “lame” mark of ten Mbit/s. However, the state chamber reprimanded the government for not doing justice to the citizens’ expectations of “fast internet”. No wonder that the federal government is planning to increase the minimum download bandwidth to 15 Mbit/s in mid-2023.

Which still wouldn’t be fast enough: For home office applications, including encryption methods such as virtual private networks (VPN), calls and video calls, as well as options for using social media, IT experts today consider data transmission speeds of at least 30 Mbit/s to be simply the “conditio sine qua”. non”.

The Federal Network Agency estimates that around 100 billion gigabytes of data were transmitted in the German fixed network last year than ever before. What can be explained by the fact that in 2021 many people simply moved from the company office to the home office to work in the wake of the corona pandemic. For example, Munich-based M-net put the average consumption across all of its customer groups at 234 gigabytes (GB) last year. In the case of the competitor NetCologne, on the other hand, the value even ranged at an impressive 300 GB last year. Figures well above the national average consumption of 225 GB estimated by the Federal Network Agency.

“The ever-increasing demand for data is leading to a significant increase in interest in connections with high bandwidth,” explains Jens-Uwe Theumer, Vice President Telecommunications at Verivox. For example, bookings for fast connections with at least 100 megabits per second have almost quadrupled over the course of the past year on the Heidelberg comparison portal – an impressive number.

Anyone who wants to surf the Internet for business or private purposes without limits and cheaply and make phone calls over the fixed network with impeccable language quality is best advised to use what are known as double flat rates – a tried-and-tested standard product in the large repertoire of telecommunications companies. But which providers in this country are exposing themselves with a really good price-performance ratio? An extensive study (see method below) by the comparison portal Verivox, commissioned by FOCUS-MONEY, now provides answers using current double-flat tariff offers with network speeds of 50, 100 and 250 Mbit/s.

“Our analysis makes it clear that different customer needs are represented in the market today,” explains Verivox manager Theumer. For example, Telekom is exposing itself in the service area. “Competitor Vodafone, on the other hand, is well positioned, especially in terms of price.”

And when it comes to tariff conditions, Easybell’s offer, which can be canceled monthly, is ahead, sums up Theumer. “Overall, Vodafone Kabel won the test,” sums up industry insider Theumer. Since there are major price differences between existing customers and new customers almost everywhere, the expert recommends checking your own tariff regularly. “Meanwhile, internet contracts can be terminated monthly after the minimum term,” says Theumer. Which now enables customers to get out of contracts that have become too expensive more quickly.

A small side note: If you have to set up the online and landline connection for your home office on your own account, you can deduct professional telephone and internet costs from your taxes as income-related expenses. Without proof, the tax authorities recognize 20 percent of the costs, up to a maximum of 20 euros per month. On the other hand, if you want to deduct higher expenses, you should test the professional use for at least three months in a row. Since individual proof is not possible for Internet access with flat rates, the tax office approves 50 percent of the costs as work-related.

Current tariffs can be found online at Verivox.

Method: Surfer’s Paradise

For FOCUS-MONEY, the comparison portal Verivox examined the price-performance ratio of so-called double flat rates for landline telephony and the Internet in June 2022. In addition to the offers from the cable network operators Vodafone Kabel and Pyur, the experts evaluated the offers from the companies Telekom, Vodafone, O2, Easybell and 1

The study focused on the prices, services and tariff conditions of the cheapest tariff for new customer connections with bandwidths of 50, 100 and 250 megabits per second (Mbit/s). Hardware costs were not included, as these can vary greatly even within a tariff. There is also router freedom.

For each offer with network speeds of 50, 100 and 250 Mbit/s, the experts determined the effective monthly price for a contract period of two years. This takes into account all new customer discounts and any new connection costs. To determine the best price for consumers, the monthly premiums for network speeds of 50, 100 and 250 Mbit/s were added up for each provider and divided by three. Depending on the price level, between zero and 80 points could be achieved in the test for this arithmetic mean; was graded in increments of ten.

This is divided into three areas, which were included in the service rating with different weights (in brackets). In the customer hotline, online shop and online customer portal sub-segments, a total of ten individual criteria were examined, for which – depending on the extent – ​​zero to ten points were awarded. For each aspect, the number of points achieved was multiplied by the corresponding percentage and finally by a factor of three (for three areas). Thus, a maximum of 100 points could be achieved.

Eight criteria with different weightings (in brackets) were included in this area. Verivox distributed up to five points per aspect, which were multiplied by the respective percentage and then by a factor of eight (for eight areas). So a maximum of 40 points could be achieved.

The ratio of network speed to monthly price was not taken into account. Since the speed that actually reaches the customer depends on so many variables, this point was not included separately in the test. The automatic contract extension in the event of missed termination is now regulated by law (max. one month) and has therefore been removed from the catalog of criteria.

The winner of the test is whoever was able to collect the most points from the three sub-areas, with PRICE and SERVICE each accounting for 35 percent and the TARIFF CONDITIONS accounting for 30 percent of the overall rating.