A Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe has ruled that the Internet is an essential part of life. German law already mandates that individuals can be compensated for the loss of use of essential material items, meaning that people have the right to pursue compensation in the event that access to the web is disrupted by their service provider.
The court reached its verdict after hearing the case of a man that was unable to use his home DSL connection for roughly two months. Naturally, the connection was responsible for his telephone and fax line as well – rendering all three services useless from late 2008 through early 2009.
The man in question had already received compensation from the ISP for having to switch to a mobile phone but he ultimately wanted compensation for not being able to use the Internet.
A spokesperson for the court said the Internet plays a very important role today and affects the private life of an individual in very decisive ways. As such, the court ruled that the use of the Internet is comparable to the loss of use of a car.
As The Verge points out, France’s Constitutional Council ruled in 2009 that Internet access was a basic human right, a move that undermined the country’s HADOPI anti-piracy law. Furthermore, Finland adopted a similar position a year later by proclaiming that every citizen would be provided with a 100Mb broadband connection by 2015.