The US Federal Communications Commission introduces broadband consumer labels

The FCC has unveiled ‘broadband labels’ for transparent internet pricing, akin to food nutritional tags. These labels offer key details like monthly costs, fees, performance metrics, and program participation, aiding consumer decisions.

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The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has introduced new rules requiring internet packages to have ‘broadband labels’, similar to nutritional tags on food products. These labels aim to provide consumers with clear information about the pricing and performance of internet services. Jon Donenberg, Deputy Director of the White House National Economic Council, emphasised the importance of these labels in helping consumers understand what they are paying for before signing up for a service. 

Modelled after FDA food labels, broadband labels will include details such as monthly price, contract length, potential price changes, fees, data allowances, broadband speeds, and links to network management and privacy policies. The labels will be required to appear at all points of sale, including online and in stores. 

The initiative is aimed at addressing issues such as hidden fees and unexpected rate hikes that have long plagued consumers shopping for internet services. The FCC spokesperson clarified that the labels must be easily accessible and cannot be hidden or buried within multiple clicks. 

Consumers who have questions about the information on the labels can refer to a glossary for clarification. If a provider fails to display the labels or provides inaccurate information, consumers can file complaints with the FCC Consumer Complaint Center. 

While many providers will start displaying the labels in April, smaller firms with fewer than 100,000 subscribers have until 10 October 2024, to comply with the FCC rules.