Internet in Germany

Bas

Updated on Feb 05 • 4 minute read

Germany is one of the world’s leading economies, but how does Germany do in terms of internet connectivity? Ever since many of us have been forced to work from home, the importance of access to a solid internet connection has become more apparent than ever! We’ll take a look at what German ISP are available and what connection type and speed you should look into for your new home in Germany. Let’s log into this topic!

Internet providers in Germany

If you’re living in any of Germany’s major cities, it’s likely that you’ll have or will be opting for an internet connection provided by some of the country’s major internet providers. Most of these providers are large telecommunications companies, that do not only offer wired home internet connections but also tv, phone and mobile internet services. As a result, you can usually get a nice package deal!

The most widely available in Germany are:

  • Deutsche Telekom (known for T-mobile and T-systems)
  • O2
  • 1&1
  • Vodafone

Internet speed in Germany

What’s the average internet speed in Germany?

As one of the primary economic hubs of the European Union, you’d think that Germany would be at the forefront of developing high-tech internet infrastructure. For regular users, there’s not much to complain about! In fact, Germany managed to double its average internet speed from around 27Mbps in 2015 to around 55 Mbps in 2020 (Cisco, 2020). Obviously, the speeds you can get depend on where you live, and on whether you live in an old or a modern building or part of a city. German Altbau is beautiful to look at, but probably isn’t hooked up to a super-fast network!

Most of Germany’s internet connections are ADSL connections. Essentially, a massive network of phone lines made out of copper cable. This is fine for regular people, as this type of internet supports download speeds up to around 250Mbps. The downside is that these connections are not suitable for something like a corporate or shared networks, or even the home networks for IT professionals. This type of connection simply does not offer enough down- and upstream to support hundreds of people doing their thing at the same time. It’s no surprise then, that there are still quite a few people in Germany that can’t match the download speeds that are advertised. A simple example would be a two-way street, where the download lane is broader than the upload lane, and there is a traffic jam going on that keeps everyone from driving at the recommended speed.

A more favourable solution would be to modernise the cables in the ground, upgrading to optical fiber networks, which literally means transmitting data at the speed of light. While available in plenty of places, even a city like Berlin doesn’t always have easy and affordable access to these faster networks. A frustration for many a Berlin startup that needs to upload data as much as they need to download it!

Average internet speed in Germany compared

So, the average internet speed in Germany is 55 Mbps, but how does that compare to other countries? Well, it’s certainly a lot better than that in India, which only has an average of 13 Mbps. It’s also better than the United States, which sees average speeds of 15-50Mbps depending on which state you look at. Let’s look at a few more examples:

Country Average Speed (Cisco, Cable.co.uk)

CountryAverage speed
Germany55 Mbps
India13 Mbps
US15-15 Mbps
UK37.5 Mbps
France51.5 Mbps
Austria27.7 Mbps
The Netherlands95.6 Mbps

So, even though our Dutch neighbours are blowing our speed out of the water, German internet speeds aren’t so slow after all!

The best Internet Provider in Germany

So you might be wondering which provider is the best internet provider in Germany, but there’s no clear winner here. It all depends on where you live, what’s on offer there and, of course if you can get a good connection for a decent price.

If you’re renting in Germany, there’s also a large chance that your internet connection has been selected by your landlord. However, these are not always the best connections or they are shared with others. This can mean that in practice, your internet experience might be frustratingly slow, especially if you’re connecting over wifi. This can obviously be a problem if you’re working from home, trying to attend virtual meetings and loading your favourite websites at the same time! So, here are a few tips in this case:

What do I do if my internet is slow?

  • Ask your landlord if they can run a cable to your home, so you can connect your computer or laptop without interference or speed loss that comes with wifi.
  • Make sure your wifi router is unobstructed, and not hidden in a cabinet! This will seriously hamper your speed and network stability.
  • If you can’t move the wifi router, you could invest in an access point or network repeater to boost your signal.
  • Sit down with your landlord and find yourself a better internet deal that matches your internet needs!

There are useful comparison websites, like Check24.de which simply let you enter your (prospective) address to see what’s available now. The prices mentioned include sales, new membership deals and other price reductions, so you can make an easy decision based on the balance between speed and price. Keep an eye on the minimum contract duration (Mindestvertraglaufzeit) if you’re shopping for yourself, though. If your stay is shorter than the minimum duration, it makes sense to pick one without such a minimum requirement.

In case you’re wondering what type of speed you’re surfing the net at right now (even on mobile!), then simply navigate to Fast.com, Netflix’s own speed test page! It performs the test through the Netflix servers to also detect network throttling (to slow down your speed for certain services), which can be common practice in countries like the US. It doesn’t really happen in Germany, but it’s still a nice, lightweight speed test option.

So, now you know everything you want to know about the internet landscape in Germany! In short, Germany is a little behind in terms of high tech infrastructure, but has everything a regular user needs to do their every day working from home, video streaming and online gaming!

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