Lonely Planet Writer

Change in law could pave the way for more free Wi-Fi hotspots in Germany

A new plan to change a German law that limits Wi-Fi hotspots is good news for travellers to the country, paving the way for more public internet access in a place where a connection can be hard to find.

Woman sitting at outdoor cafe using mobile.
Woman sitting at outdoor cafe using mobile. Image by Thomas_EyeDesign/Getty Images

Germany’s lack of free Wi-Fi is generally attributed to a law that leaves the network provider liable for what users do on it – such as illegally downloading music or movies, reports Bloomberg. Now the government plans to change those rules, with the hope of making businesses more likely to provide a hotspot.

The plans will likely be welcomed by travellers as the lack of free connections can come as a surprise to visitors who are used to having access to Wi-Fi in places like hotels – while in Germany it can be scarce.

According to Deutsche Welle, there are only less than two Wi-Fi hotspots per 10,000 residents in Germany, while the country with the most hotspots, South Korea, has more than 37 for every 10,000 people. The proposal will likely be debated in German parliament next week, with a hope of implementing the changes by the fall.

It likely can’t come soon enough for many travellers – a recent survey from New Zealand-based travel company Wotif found that Wi-Fi is among the top items on a traveller’s accommodation wishlist, along with free breakfast and a swimming pool. More than a third of prospective travellers added a filter requiring Wi-Fi when searching online for hotels.

Another recent survey found that two-thirds of British travellers wait no longer than seven minutes to sign in to hotel Wi-Fi. The survey, from Roomzzz Aparthotel, found that 25% of people surveyed wouldn’t even book a hotel that does not include free internet access.