Broadband ‘Nutrition’ Labels Are Officially a Thing Now

Broadband providers will be required to display easy-to-understand labels to allow consumers to compare broadband services under the new FCC rules.

The rules were mandated by the Infrastructure Investment and Employment Act (IIJA), passed late last year.

The labels, which resemble the well-known nutrition labels that appear on food products, will display, at the point of sale, details about speeds, fees, data allowances and other essential information.

Among the requirements of the FCC order:

  • Prominent display: Consumers must be able to see their true label when buying broadband by requiring providers to display the label – and not just an icon or link to the label – near an associated package advertisement .
  • Account portals: ISPs must make each customer’s label readily available to the customer in their online account portal, as well as provide the label to an existing customer upon request.
  • machine readability: To further facilitate price comparison, vendors should make label information machine-readable to allow third parties to more easily collect and aggregate data for the purpose of creating price comparison tools for consumers. consumers.

The FCC order also includes a model label, developed by consumers, consumer advocates, and government and industry experts during the hearings and rule-making process. There are specific rules, which can be found in the FCC order.

Broadband label template (Source: FCC)

The FCC also adopted a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking on ways to further refine and improve its rules to ensure it pursues its transparency goals for consumers.

“Broadband is an essential service, for everyone, everywhere. For this reason, consumers need to know what they are paying for and how it compares to other service offerings,” President Jessica Rosenworcel said in a prepared statement. “For more than 25 years, consumers have enjoyed the convenience of nutrition labels on food products. We now require ISPs to display broadband labels for wireless and wireline services. Consumers deserve accurate information about price, speed, data allowances, and other terms of service up-front. »

The FCC will announce the effective date of the label after completing the
next steps, including requirements under the Red Tape Reduction Act.

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