The Internet has certainly become an important part of the way in which we live, work and communicate. Access to the information superhighway not only creates new opportunities and allows for instant connections, but it helps us to enable operational efficiencies in the workplace.
As important as the Internet has become in the developed world, is it important enough that a lack of access should be grounds for legal liability? A German court seems to think so. A man seeking compensation from his telecommunications company for failing to give him Internet access to use services such as fax over IP, or fax VoIP, has won a ruling in his favor.
According to this one report, the loss of connectivity with a fax VoIP connection is akin to losing a phone connection, therefore deserving of financial compensation. At least that is the opinion of the plaintiff seeking relief in the German Federal Court of Justice. A gentleman who lost connectivity between December 2008 and February 2009 believes he is entitled to compensation.
The case was brought before the court as the plaintiff was seeking compensation for an erroneous disconnect and the costs incurred in switching to a new provider. He was also demanding the equivalent of $67 per day for the time in which he was unable to use his fax VoIP, DSL and VoIP services.
While the court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, he was only awarded compensation for the Internet connection loss and not the loss of access to fax VoIP. The court felt that such a connection allows the user to simply send images and text faster than conventional mail. With the increasing use of alternatives such as e-mail and SMS text messaging, consumers do not rely solely on fax VoIP to communicate information. Regardless, it still serves as a crucial and preferred method for many.
The plaintiff was also denied compensation for the loss of the VoIP phone service, as he did own a mobile phone and therefore did have a voice connection. Compensation was awarded instead on the loss of the DSL line, as the court ruled that the Internet has become a critical element in the economic living standards of its citizens.
The German court made an important point in this case, highlighting just how pervasive the Internet has become in society as a whole. In fact, according to a Business Insider analysis, just 18 months ago the Internet as a sector represented three percent of GDP and more than 20 percent of the economic growth in the last five years. For every job eliminated by the innovations of the Internet, another 2.6 net jobs are created.
In fact, Internet and access to broadband solutions is so impacting towards today’s economy that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC (News - Alert)) has made it a priority to ensure all citizens have access at some level. With a focus on economic and job development, the agency has invested time and resources into the availability of funds and incentives for carriers willing to serve the underserved and unserved regions.
While access to fax over IP may not be crucial in the eyes of the German court, access to the Internet is an important function to enable users to take advantage of the opportunities it affords. As soon as that connection is severed, opportunities are lost – and you might just end up in court.
To find out more about FaxSIPit, visit the company at ITEXPO Miami 2013, taking place Jan. 29- Feb 1 in Miami, Florida. Visit FaxSIPit in booth #625. For more information on ITEXPO (News - Alert) Miami 2013, click here.
Edited by Allison Boccamazzo