FCC Requires Broadband “Nutrition Labels” – MeriTalk

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unveiled its “nutrition label” which will require broadband providers to display key information consumers want to know at the time of purchase: prices, speeds, charges, data allowances and other essential information.

In adopting the label, the FCC said access to accurate and easy-to-understand information about broadband Internet access services helps consumers make informed choices and is central to a well-functioning market. and which encourages competition, innovation, low prices and high prices. quality service.

“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,” FCC Chairman Jessica Rosenworcel said, according to a Nov. 17 press release.

“For more than 25 years, consumers have enjoyed the convenience of nutrition labels on food products,” she continued. “We now require ISPs to display broadband labels for wireless and wired services. Consumers deserve accurate information about price, speed, data allowances, and other terms of service up-front. »

Broadband labels have become a recommendation for internet service providers in 2016, but the FCC finally vote for their need in January of this year. The commission has spent the past 10 months listening to feedback from consumers, consumer advocates and government and industry experts to ensure the label benefits everyone.

The new broadband labels will include several features:

  • Prominent Display: Ensures consumers see the label when purchasing broadband by requiring providers to display the label – not just an icon or link to the label – next to an advertisement associated plan;
  • Account Portals: Requires each customer’s label to be made readily available to the customer in their online account portal, as well as to provide the label to an existing customer upon request;
  • Machine Readability: Requires vendors to make label information machine readable to allow third parties to more easily collect and aggregate data to create comparison tools for consumers; and
  • Additional Improvements: Adoption of means by which the FCC can further refine and improve its rules to ensure that they pursue their goals of consumer transparency.

The FCC plans to announce the label’s effective date after taking necessary next steps, including requirements under the Red Tape Reduction Act.

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