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<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<html newsdate="2019-10-28">
<title>Router Freedom: regaining sovereignty over your digital equipment</title>
<h1>Router Freedom: regaining sovereignty over your digital equipment</h1>
<p>The right of choosing your own modem and router is a
basic precondition for a neutral, safe and healthy digital environment.
If you cannot control your router, it is not free and your digital
freedom is likely to be compromised. For years, the FSFE has been
successfully fighting for Router Freedom in Germany. Now the debate has
reached the European level with Internet Service Providers imposing
their specific routers to customers. The FSFE has prepared an activity
package for people and organisations interested in advocating for their
freedom of choice.</p>
<p><a href="/activities/routers/">Router Freedom</a> is the right of
customers of any Internet Service Provider (ISP) to choose and use a
private modem and router instead of a router that the Internet Service
Providers (ISP) forces them to use - for example by contract. Such an
enforcement comes with a series of problems because it essentially
denies freedom of choice, taking away control of technology from users.
In fact, our whole internet traffic, encryption, backups, communication,
shopping, writings, business interaction, and so on is transferred
through the router. If your router is not free, your digital freedom is
likely to be compromised. </p>
<p>In the period between 2013 and 2016, the Free Software Foundation
Europe (FSFE) has successfully worked for Router Freedom in Germany.
ISPs at the time were imposing by contract their equipment to consumers.
The FSFE stepped into the public debate with a statement towards the
Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) and started coordinating with other
organisations a campaign to defend and promote the right of equipment
choice. Our efforts culminated in the <a
href="/news/2016/news-20160725-01.html">approval of a law</a>, which
determined that from August 1st in 2016 onwards, all ISPs in Germany
have to enable new clients to use alternative modems and routers to
connect to the internet. In 2019, a regional court (level 2 of 4) <a
Router Freedom (DE)</a>, ruling that the ISPs may not compel their
customers to choose their own provided router. It is a sign that this
basic freedom is understood by German courts. </p>
<h3>Router Freedom in Europe</h3>
<p>Since 2016, Router Freedom in Europe is protected by the Regulation
2015/2120 - the so-called Net Neutrality Regulation. Article 5 therein
determines that the National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) are
responsible for checking the application of the Regulation’s rules
according to the technical guidelines of the Body of European Regulators
for Electronic Communications (BEREC). The problematic stepping stone
for the implementation of Router Freedom in Europe relates to legal and
technical aspects around the "Network Termination Point" (NTP) - which
establishes where the ISP's infrastructure ends and the user's begins.
If the NTP would be defined to extend downstream the router, the user might
not have the right to use their own equipment because it belongs to the
ISP and would be covered by contract. </p>
alt="Representation of the Network Termination Point"/>
Representation of the Network Termination Point
<p>To counteract this freedom restriction and to protect users' control
of technology, the FSFE has started monitoring the status of router
freedom in several countries and has been preparing an <a
package</a> for people and organisations willing to advocate for router
freedom. The package compiles information about how to raise awareness
among people, ideas on how to build alliances with organisations, the
(counter-)arguments to be used in the discussions, as well how to demand
controls and supervision from the National Regulatory Agencies (NRA).
<h3>Get active</h3>
<p>We encourage you to check out our <a
package</a> on how to start organising a strategy for raising awareness
among your community and political representatives. With your help, we
can track which ISPs comply with the law and which do not, what the bad
contract practices are, and how to better refine the Router Freedom
panorama in Europe. Therefore, we would like to hear your experiences
with ISPs regarding Router Freedom. Please <a
href="/contact/">contact</a> us to share your experience, or if you have
questions regarding the campaign. </p>
<tag key="routers">Router Freedom</tag>
<tag key="competition">Competition</tag>
<tag key="policy">Policy</tag>
<tag key="front-page"/>
<author id="lasota" />
<discussion href="" />