Germany - OTT Providers subject to telecoms regulation At the end of 2015, the Administrative Court of Cologne has issued a ruling confirming the German regulator’s (BNetzA) view that certain “Over-the-Top” (OTT) services are subject to telecommunications regulation. The court found that even OTT services where the actual transmission of signals is established over the public Internet by third party ISPs may be classified as publicly available electronic communication services (ECS). Based on this, the providers of such OTT services are subject to notification requirements and further telecommunications regulatory obligations. In its ruling, the Court did not follow the (informal) views of the EU Commission that the OTT webmail service in question was not to be considered an ECS. In its reasons for the ruling, the court rejected a classification of the relevant OTT service based merely on a technical assessment but favored a broader approach taking also into account the customers' and providers' points of view as well as the intention of the legislator. This decision, if upheld by the courts of appeal, may have a significant impact on the scope of regulation of providers of OTT services in Germany. For more information, please contact Joachim Scherer or Caroline Heinickel.