The FCC voted unanimously on a plan that would allow consumers to make better decisions about their high-speed Internet.
The proposal will require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) – including many of the top mobile carriers in the United States – to display “nutrition labels” that display relevant service information for consumers at the point of sale. This includes internet speeds, allowances, and clear pricing information.
“If you walk into a grocery store and pull boxes of cereal off the shelves, you can easily compare calories and carbs,” FCC Chairman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement Thursday. “That’s because they have a common nutrition label. It’s black and white, simple to read and easy to understand. It helps consumers make good choices.”
Rosenworcel says this should also apply to broadband service so customers can make informed choices and compare services to get what’s best for them. For example, customers will be able to clearly see if the offer presented to them is only an introductory rate and be able to see what they would pay once the introductory period is over.
The proposal is based on a 2016 advisory that endorsed the use of broadband nutrition labels. However, as Rosenworcel points out, “[i]It was also simply voluntary.”
The newly proposed labels are mandatory under the Infrastructure Investment and Employment Act that was enacted in November. This gives the FCC more power to mandate nutrition labels and direct other programs and efforts to expand broadband access.
Hopefully, this will make it easier to find suitable broadband services, especially in rural areas where ISPs and wireless service providers have largely failed to deliver on their promises.