Man sues over Internet downtime

The Internet is now an essential service under German lawA German court has ruled that citizens have the right to claim compensation from ISP's (Internet Service Providers) if their Internet access is not working, because the Internet is an "essential" part of life.

The Federal Court of Justice made the ruling after hearing the case of a man who suffered from being unable to use his broadband connection for two months from late 2008 to early 2009. His landline was also unavailable during the outage.

He had already received compensation for the cost of having to use a mobile phone, but also wanted to be compensated for not being able to use the Internet.

"The Internet plays a very important role today and affects the private life of an individual in very decisive ways. Therefore loss of use of the Internet is comparable to the loss of use of a car," a court spokeswoman told Germany's ARD television.

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