The Federal Communications Commission has set a date for broadband providers to start displaying Broadband Consumer Labels that break down the price of their services. A majority of providers will be required to display the label by April 10, 2024. Providers with 100,000 of fewer subscriber lines have an October 10, 2024 deadline.
The FCC goal with the “nutrition label”- style disclosures is to provide customers with “clear, easy-to-understand, and accurate information” about a provider’s internet prices, introductory rates, data allowances, and broadband speeds. The labels will also include links to learn about network management practices, privacy policies, and the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program.
Here’s what a label will look like:
Paying for internet access can get complicated quickly between promotions and technical jargon. These labels aim to hold providers accountable to customers and expose fine print about data caps or hidden charges that otherwise would’ve been overlooked.
“This is a big win for consumers, who need clear and transparent information when making decisions about what internet service makes the most sense for their households,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement. “Consumers will finally get information they can use to comparison shop, avoid junk fees, and make informed choices about which high-speed internet service is the best fit for their needs and budget.”
The FCC adopted the label rules in 2022. After the order was adopted, multiple petitions were filed asking for clarification and reconsideration.
In August, cable and telecom companies pushed back on the FCC’s order to include the disclosures, arguing that the labels would only confuse customers and provided an onerous amount of additional work given the different tiers of pricing. Shortly after, the FCC said it wouldn’t reconsider the Broadband Consumer Label rules. In a release at that time, the FCC said the action preserves a consumer’s access to transparent and accurate information about broadband services.
Image credit: FCC