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New FCC Rule Mandates Transparent Broadband Labels to Aid Consumer Choice

Major U.S. broadband providers are now mandated to display clear consumer labels outlining prices, speeds, and data allowances for their services. This directive from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) applies to all major standalone home and mobile broadband plans, targeting providers with over 100,000 subscribers. Smaller ISPs have until October 10, 2024, to implement these changes.

These new labels, which must be prominently displayed near plan advertisements, include critical information such as monthly pricing, introductory rates and their duration, and costs after introductory periods end. They also detail any additional fees, such as one-time charges, early termination fees, and taxes. The labels will inform consumers about typical download and upload speeds, latency, and data caps, including the cost of exceeding these limits.

Additionally, the labels must link to information regarding discounts, service bundles, network management practices, and privacy policies. By October 10, these labels are also required to be machine-readable to facilitate the creation of third-party comparison-shopping tools.

This move by the FCC follows a law passed by Congress in 2021, aiming to enhance transparency and help consumers make informed decisions. Despite initial resistance from providers like Comcast, who argued that detailing every fee would be challenging, all major ISPs are currently complying with the regulation. Companies such as AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Charter Spectrum have incorporated these labels into their checkout processes, with Google Fiber having launched its labels ahead of schedule in October 2023.

The FCC is also extending similar transparency rules to TV service providers, mandating them to advertise all-inclusive prices to avoid hidden fees, although these are pending further review under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

By CircleID Reporter

CircleID’s internal staff reporting on news tips and developing stories. Do you have information the professional Internet community should be aware of? Contact us.

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