Jan. 27, 2022
On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would establish a standardized format for internet providers to disclose information about price, ancillary fees, and speeds. The format, often referred to as a “broadband nutrition label,” is modeled after the Food and Drug Administration’s nutrition label for food products. OTI first proposed such a label in 2009 and helped develop a government-endorsed label in 2016. The Trump Administration abandoned the label, which Congress directed the FCC to revive by Nov. 15, 2022, as part of the recently-passed infrastructure law. The law also makes the label mandatory for internet providers.
OTI’s Cost of Connectivity study found that internet providers often bury information about the actual cost of internet service amid confusing contracts, hidden fees, and convoluted billing schemes. In another recent study, Consumer Reports concluded that hidden fees add $450 to the average internet customer’s bill. The broadband nutrition label is designed to help consumers understand their total cost of service, facilitate comparison-shopping, and hold ISPs accountable.
The following quote can be attributed to Joshua Stager, deputy director for broadband and competition policy at New America’s Open Technology Institute:
“Today’s FCC vote is a welcome step forward and a win for consumers. OTI has long called for truth-in-billing for the broadband industry, which is notorious for keeping customers in the dark. Hidden fees, surprise bills, and dense contracts are familiar problems to anyone who deals with these companies.
“The broadband nutrition label cuts through this confusion by clearly disclosing the cost and terms of service in a simple, consumer-friendly format. It’s a common sense idea that we look forward to working with the Commission to implement. People deserve to know what they are paying for.”