Telephone & utilities in Germany

ISDN, DSL, Cable: Broadband Internet in Germany

ISDN, DSL, Cable: Broadband Internet in Germany

 

The internet has become such a dominant part of our every day lives. Its importance for keeping in touch with friends, doing research and also allowing for a smooth process in the working environment is ever increasing. Being in Germany as an expatriate more than likely means that you have left friends and family and  possibly even a business or two behind in your native country. Being able to keep up with everyday happenings in a country where you no longer reside is made significantly easier through the existence of the internet. So it comes as no surprise that finding an internet provider is one of the highest things on your to-do list.

 

Broadband internet in Germany is rather cheap and there are many companies to choose from. With high speed internet connections and the possibility to have a flat rate on internet and telephone makes broadband internet very attractive. The prices vary from provider to provider and may also be higher or lower depending on the internet speed that you desire.

Cable Television and Internet access.

The possibility is there for internet and telephone access via ones cable television connection. Through this option you are looking at having your internet and telephone fixed to the cable television connection. This is a very low cost option and the internet speed is typically very fast.

So how does one choose an Internet provider in Germany?

Research is the first thing that you will need to do. Rather than opting for the first company that you hear of or see, check to ensure that they do provide what you are looking for. It may also be a good idea to get some feedback from existing customers to see what complaints, if any, they have about the company. This may save you a lot of stress in the future as some companies are known to have terrible customer service, and when something is wrong, the difficulty in being able to get the information and the help you need is very high. Knowing this before hand may help you to make a wiser decision and know what to expect from customer service reps and how to go about dealing with them in order to obtain helpful information.

Know what connection speed you will need and ensure that the provider you are looking into is capable of providing such speeds. You will also need to be aware of the price of the services and decide whether or not they fit your budget. Some companies offer a free wireless router with their packages, others charge a monthly fee and others require you to purchase your own. It is important to weigh what the packages include as well as to compare different companies to see if you will be getting your money's worth. Another deciding factor may be whether or not a company has a minimum contract requirement as well as if they are able to provide information in English.

Some internet providers include:

http://www.teltarif.de/

http://www.qsc.de/

http://www.cablesurf.de/

https://dsl.und.de

http://dsl.o2online.de/

http://www.kabeldeutschland.de/

 

 

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Experiences with Alice DSL

Experiences with Alice DSL

 

Alice DSL is an internet provide in Germany. Once you're in Germany, and you've secured an apartment that you love and can call home, there are many things you will need to get together in order to truly feel at home. Internet is one of those things. There are many DSL providers to choose from in Germany, and each and every one has its flaws as well as its benefits.

 

Alice DSL is rather popular in Germany and liked by many as well as disliked by quite a few. In order to decide if Alice should be your DSL provider you will have to weight the pros and cons and see if perhaps the complaints that others may have are not so bad, or a definite turn off.

 

So what are the Pros and Cons of Alice DSL?

 

Pros:

 

·         Alice DSL is affordable

·         There is no minimum contract length with Alice and so when you have to leave Germany or if you are not satisfied with their service, you can end your contract hassle free.

·         They offer affordable packages for land line and internet.

·         English speaking technicians may be available in customer service

 

 

Cons:

·         Long installation times: In some cases, Alice DSL may take 6-8 weeks to get set up.

·         Customer service is at times not very helpful

·         Long waiting times to get through to customer service

·         Coverage may not be good depending on the area you are living in

·         Customers report frequent problems with routers from Alice

·         Frequent problems with internet connection

 

It is always a wise decision to get a better idea of what is on the market and compare prices, packages and reviews before settling on an Internet provider. There is no harm in taking some time out to really look into the different companies. In fact, even though you may be desperate to get internet as soon as possible, in the long run, doing the adequate amount of research may pay off. This may save you from signing a contract with a provider that has a lot of technical issues that causes you to lose internet connection on a regular basis. In such circumstances going without the service for a few days rather than having to deal with the stress of paying for something that leaves you disgruntled will definitely be worth it.

 

Here is a list of other DSL providers:

http://dslshop.vodafone.de/

http://www.tele2.de/

dsl.und.de

 

http://www.check24.de/ may come in handy and make your quest to finding the right DSL provider an easy one. They compare rates and prices, helping to lighten your research.

 

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O2 has the worst customer service in Germany

Having paid for a service, whether you've been a long time customer, or this is your first time with a specific company, no one is overjoyed when something goes wrong. In cases like this you want a solution, you want help, you want someone to turn to. If you use your phone to contact your family back home, or mainly for business, it can be equally devastating when this form of communication comes to a halt. So the help that you need, the help that was promised to you when you signed your contract with O2, is the help you wish to receive. However, many expats, Germans, non Germans have had the same problem with O2 that you're probably having.

When it works, it's great, but when it doesn't you pretty much have to fend for yourself. Customer service is there for a reason, however, sometimes it makes you wonder if companies like O2 really should be hiring customer service representatives. Either way, you will still be left in the dark with no idea which way to turn in order to get the help you need. They'll hang up the phone, put you on hold for countless hours, only to hang up on you when you start talking. 

The first problem that comes with O2's customer service is the fact that they hardly exist. When needing their assistance you have to be prepared to spend a large amount of time on the phone, tiring your hands and wearing out your ears to the tone of that wonderful music reminding you that all their agents are busy. And if finally you do get through to someone, keep in mind that you may have to bite your tongue, and express your issues with O2's service very calmly as you risk being hung up on, only to spend another couple hours on the phone trying to get through to someone again. 

The nice, helpful tone you expect to get from customer service representatives rarely exist within the O2 community. Instead, you'll witness something harsh, something that makes you wonder why they even bother to turn up to work day after day. You'll even consider the fact that they perhaps like the thrill of arguing with you rather than helping you. And so, when it comes to getting answers to your questions, you may have to look elsewhere.

 

 

It's highly disappointing that O2 customers are often treated terribly by customer service representatives. One tip that might help in getting a better response is getting your reps name at the beginning of the conversation. This way, if you aren't satisfied or are disgruntled with the service that you have received you can file a complaint. [...]

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Using Netflix in Germany

Favorite shows and the familiarity with home

When relocating to Germany one is forced to give up on many of the beloved habits and other things that made life worthwhile back home. Having to find new friends, possibly a new job and even a new gym can impose a lot of stress on those forced to go through with it. The TV shows that one used to watch back home can serve as a sense of familiarity. However, many may be disappointed that watching these shows in Germany isn’t as easy as it may seem at first glance. Though many of the popular shows are broadcasted in Germany even shortly after they are being released in the US, they are not shown in their original language, English. They are first translated and then voiced over for the German audience which is hardly interested in an English show they can hardly understand and have to miss half of the punch lines of. So, if you are very interested in learning the German language, watching reruns of your favorite show may just help you out a lot, since you already know the plot and maybe even the jokes; however, watching the newest episode of the show you have been following for years in a language you only know the basics of, hardly presents itself as a good option.

 

Using Netflix to watch the favorite show in English

Some of those relocating to Germany probably believe that for them watching their favorite shows won’t be much of a hassle as they have Netflix accounts that enable them to watch the reruns of their favorite show as often as they want to. That unfortunately is a wrong believe. Netflix imposes strict GEO-restrictions on their customers.

What is  VPN and why you'll need one:

As you try to go to the Netflix site from your home computer in Germany, you will stumble upon a message that informs you that the service is not yet available in Germany. This actually means that even though you are a paying customer, you are not capable of using the service as you are used to. If you are willing to walk on the wild side and pay a few Dollars on the side, there is a way to surpass the GEO-restrictions. There are so called VPN-sites that will hide your IP-address and allow you to gain access to your Netflix account. As you are disguising your identity, it is not fully legal and at the same time not illegal, as there are no conclusive court verdicts or laws that deem it illegal to use such sites. They will cost about 0 Euros a month, a price that your favorite show may just be worth to you. If you have the time, you could also wait for the big European expansion of Netflix that is planned for the end of 204 that may or may not cover Germany.

 

 

Alternatives to Netflix

A great alternative to Netflix is Lovefilm.de. It is powered by Amazon and offers a great variety of films and shows either for streaming or as mail to the doorstep. As the streamed movies and shows are only available in German, the mail option should be better for most expats. If the original language of the show or the movie is English, then both English and German will be available on the DVD or BluRay Disc. [...]

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Best Internet Providers in Germany

Once you've made your way to Germany and have gotten all your furniture in place, and are starting to settle in, there's one thing you'll be in need of before your home is complete, Internet. All your friends and family back home will be waiting to hear from you, and catch up with you during a nice long Skype session. And of course, you too will be adamant to get on the computer and connect with your love ones as well as get some research done and find out more about the area you'll be living in.

It goes without saying that in today's day and age, the internet is important. Being in a foreign country and having to come to terms with not only the language barrier but also the unfamiliarity of the services they offer can be a bit challenging. However, the level of difficulty in finding an internet provider in Germany really isn't that high. 

 

Popular internet providers amongst expats include: 

Deutsche Telekom:

Deutsche Telekom is partially owned by the German government. They have offices in many German cities and thus finding somewhere to get information is relatively easy. They are, however, not the most cost efficient option, but do often offer free installation for customers who opt for a two year contract.

Alice:

Many expats opt for Alice due to the fact they'll be able to avoid a minimum contract. With this, someone who is receiving services from Alice, will only need to terminate their services four weeks to the end of the month in order to be released. The prices at Alice start at a mere 14,99 euros, making this internet service provider one of the most affordable on the market.

1&1

1&1 is another great option. They have prices starting at 19,99 with a two year contract, which includes and internet and telephone flat rate. For those who are in need of very fast internet, the options are there with 1&1 as long as you're willing to pay the price.

 

What to watch out for in your contract:

One thing to keep in mind when deciding on an internet service provider is the contract. It is always a wise decision to have a German native take a look at the contract for you, and explain the terms and conditions in your native language. Contracts are tricky, and sometimes bits and pieces of information are hidden within a contract that may be a definite deal breaker for you and thus it is always better to know what you're getting yourself into before you've gotten yourself into it.

 

The length of your contract

One of the main things to look for in a contract with your internet provider is how long you will be bound to that company, and how soon your are permitted to cancel your contract. This is especially important for those who are only looking to spend a short period of time in Germany and thus are not in need of a contract that lasts over a year. [...]

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VDSL experience in Germany

VDSL stands for very-high-bit-rate subscriber line. It is a type data transmission technology, especially for broadband internet, that allows a very large amount of data to be transmitted. Starting with VDSL in the early 2000s the advantages compared to other connections such as modems was obvious. Quickly the next generation of VDSL, VDSL 2 was developed and then approved in 2006. These second generation VDSL connections allow a much greater streaming speed than VDSL , ADSL and other connections. With download speeds of up to 50mbit/s it isn’t just a perfect option for those working from home, but also those who enjoy watching movies online and don’t appreciate long buffering times to disrupt their movie time. VDSL connections use the regular copper phone lines generally installed in people’s homes. While this is very convenient, it has one big downside. It can only operate over copper lines for short distances of no more than just over one kilometer. Phone companies are increasingly resolving this issue by replacing their old main feeds with new fiber-optic cables. The optic signals traveling through the fiber-optic cables are then converted in VDSL-gateways connected to your home copper lines. This solves the distance problem for the greatest part and allows users of VDSL to surf the internet, watch HD digital television and make phone calls simultaneously.

For most people the important question regarding VDSL is whether to get Kabel Deutschland 00 mbit/s broandband DSL or to go with other companies that advertise their VDSL-based DSL connections with download stream speeds of up to 50 mbit/s at roughly the same price. While at first glance it seems rather obvious which service to choose, it is actually much more difficult than that. In many cases the 00 mbit/s connections by Kabel Deutschland lose some of their download speeds during high times when many people in the neighborhood are using their internet connections. VDSL connections have a much steadier speed rate that is hardly ever influenced by other users. Another advantage of VDSL connections is that they generally offer higher upstream speeds. While the difference may not make a difference when uploading small files, the difference gets much more obvious when uploading larger files such as videos or hundreds of pictures to the internet. Users of 50 mbit/s VDSL connections will be able to do so quicker than with Kabel Deutschland’s DSL.

One of the companies most heavily advertising their VDSL-connection is &. While the prices offered are generally lower compared to other companies, & is infamous for their bad customer service. Many people complain about slow transition times when moving as well as the help provided with technical issues.

In order to get a pretty good idea about the VDSL options available, use one of the many websites offering comparisons of the companies. This way it is easy to scope out the best price in the area, with numerous websites offering special bonuses if a VDSL service is ordered directly through them. One of the easiest portals to use is http://www.toptarif.de/dsl/vdsl .[...]

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