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Net Neutrality on the Internet – Necessity and Provision by Existing German Law

Net Neutrality on the Internet – Necessity and Provision by Existing German Law

Net neutrality on the Internet means – if interpreted very strictly – that data transported via the internet must always be sent as fast as possible (so called “Best-Effort-Principle”). Following that principle, there may be no discrimination of data in matter of transport speed. Besides this narrow understanding of the term, other suggestions exist. One of these is a net neutrality as a content neutrality, by which a data may be treated differently when it comes to matters of transport speed, though the differentiation may never be decided by the content of the data in question.

Therefore the dispute about net neutrality leads towards the question, whether network providers should be allowed to transport data at different speeds or priorities. A question that is heavily discussed, considering the implications for communicative basic rights and their exertion via internet entwined with it.

The thesis aims at contributing to this discussion by disclosing if net neutrality in the internet really is a necessity and how far it is already provided under current German law. Therefore especially the German basic law and the effects of the revision of the German telecommunication act will have to be taken into consideration.

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Project Description

The thesis was successfully defended in October 2015 and is published by Nomos:
Ziebarth, Lennart (2016): Die Netzneutralität des Grundgesetzes. Baden-Baden: Nomos.

Project Information


Duration: 2012-2015

Research programme:
RP2 - Regulatory Structures and the Emergence of Rules in Digital Communication

Involved persons

Dr. Lennart Ziebarth

Third party

Cooperation Partner

Contact person

Dr. Lennart Ziebarth
Senior Postdoc Media and Telecommunications Law

Dr. Lennart Ziebarth

Rothenbaumchaussee 36
20148 Hamburg
Tel. +49 (0)40 450217-31
Fax +49 (0)40 450217-77

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