Germany is downgradingBy Christian Grobmeier on
Telecommunication situation in Germany is a total disaster. Now it is even going more worse as germanys biggest internet provider Telekom is killing flat rates and let companies pay extra for reaching their customers. If you ever thought Germany is a well-connected and everybody here has great internet access, you are wrong. Actually many other countries have a ways better network than Germany.
You might want to think twice before you expand your business to germany, especially when you are providing streaming services.
Being "Online" is not guaranteed
If you live outside the big cities you are not guaranteed to get internet access. There are a couple of people I know who can only access internet via ISDN. You are lucky if you manage to get LTE. This is unfortunately a shared technology and it is likely many others use LTE when there is no DSL available. Of course, SkyDSL (by satellite) is another option. But it's complicated to set up and one does not only hear good of it. In the appartement I lived before, I was having "DSL" with around 350 kb/s until 2012. Then, fortunately another provider build up a new network and things became better.
Unfortunately I had to move out from my that place. I was the first one to live in the new apartment and here the trouble starts. Not only lack of cables are the reason for "being an offliner", also the incompetence of a few employees. It seems one of the employees reserved only 6 lines for the place I live now, instead of 30 or so. Bad luck.
Welcome to the service desert
In Germany you have to apologize to give somebody your money. When I moved out of my flat, everything was pretty surprising. The living situation in Germany is hot, you have to act quick. Anyway I ordered in mid-february to be online in the new flat in march. Since my old provider (M-Net, a smaller, regional company) could not provide me internet in the short time, I asked the biggest provider in germany: Telekom. They promised me it is absolutely no problem. On the phone they told me it's a matter of days until my new line is available. I ordered. I was the second guy who ordered his line.
Shortly before the move I called the Telekom again because I haven't heard anything from them. They told me that they had to cancel my order because there were no lines available. I knew this is wrong, because a Telekom technician was actually at our house and connected everything necessary. But they were not able to synchronize their databases, so... no line for me. I was angry: why didn't they tell me? No clue. They promised to send me letter which confirms the cancellation. It never happened.
I called my old provider. They told me they would make it in four weeks and they are 100% sure they can connect me.
You should know, Telekom once was a monopole. Their monopole rights were taken before a good while, and now M-Net has a right to use the Telekom cables. Anyway, I thought they might have a better access to their database and know about the successful connection.
In April - 6 weeks and a hundred phone calls later - I was angry with M-Net I still haven't got any sign of life. No phone either. I called in asked for somebody in a higher role. He actually called me back and explained they knew since beginning of march that they could not provide me a line. They kept on trying, but nobody told me. Please have in mind, I had several phone calls with M-Net since then.
So my second order was cancelled. The reason is actually impressive. The Telekom has a right to reject giving out cables, when there are not enough available and they need it on their own. In fact, there were enough. But they rejected it because they didn't know they had enough.
Finally I was speaking to Telekoms social media team. It seems, this is the only competent team at the Telekom. Or lets say, the only team who can manage this whole damn mess at the company. They told me they would order a phone line first and then upgrade to DSL. They promised me they would take back the phone line if that doesn't work out. You could say, they need tricks to provide DSL to their customers.
Since 29.04.2013 I got a phone line. I got a call today. I can expect DSL for 14.05.2013. 12 days, I said! Why? The Telekom doesn't know. The "system" has chosen the date, nobody knows how and why. OK. I am accepting it. After nearly 3 months I am simply accepting it, because I freaking need a few security updates and I am afraid it would take even longer when I complain. I don't know what can take so long, because its all an automated process right now as I understood it - but I am not asking. I am tired of it.
Due to the "great service" of the providers I could not consume anything from any startup: no games, no music, no apps. I was not even able to download software from the App-Store. I could not patch my systems for more security. I am living with a mobile stick and 250 kbs for two persons. It is stoneage, again. I calculated: for most of my life I had not more speed than in average 100 kbs. The good thing is, I have saved around 100$ or so which I usually spend for Software/SaaS each month.
Forget about expanding your startup to Germany
I already mentioned, the Telekom was a monopolee once. In Germany we wanted to keep the net free and as we say "neutral". Before a couple of days the Telekom explained they need more money for creating networks. They would restrict you to 75 GB a month (if you book higher speeds you have some more gigs to waste - 75 is for 16k DSL). Then you would surf with just 384 kb/s. Nothing new for me. It is simply horrible.
The interesting part of this story is, the Telekom would not add the GB of it's own streaming solutions. If you have a startup which pays the Telekom, you are not affected from the bandwidth downgrade. This already happens with Spotify. They pay extra to get their content to their users. If you have a streaming startup, you could do the same in Germany. Pay not only your servers, pay also to get into the A-grade network of the Telekom - otherwise you'll be ignored from most users.
Innovating Startups most likely don't have the money to pay the Telekom and enter the german market at the beginning. In germany we'll not see young, innovating startups again so soon.
I really can't explain my mother the difference of 1 GB or 75 GB. I believe should would not watch your product videos again, because otherwise she might loose access to the Facebook games she plays. Say goodbye to the bucks you earn with product videos.
With the new provider contract I would safe my bandwidth until the end of the month. Then, when I have something left, I might pay and download your product/game/album. This means, your profit depends on how often my wife watches youtube. Maybe I even have forgot about your product before the end of the month. Or maybe my operating system needs a patch or an upgrade (new OSX version is what, 4 GB alone?) - then I simply don't have the band width for it.
With the Telekom I will not stream your music nor would I watch your online TV.
Germany is going back to the internet stone-age. If you expect german visitors, don't use flash or videos. Better just use HTML4 and leave out the CSS.
Say, change your provider?
To which one? There is none. We still live in some kind of a monopole.
While we are at it: I was not blogging the past weeks, because the slow internet made me sick.