Tue. May 21st, 2024

If you’ve ever looked at the back of a cereal box, juice carton, or basically any edible product, you’ve probably found a nutrition label that lays down everything you need to know about that particular product nutrition-wise. Those labels are mandated by the FDA in the United States, but the FCC also thinks that they’re a good idea, which is why it has started mandating similar ones for broadband plan facts.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has concluded an almost eight-year-long endeavor to mandate internet service providers (ISPs) to disclose information regarding costs, fees, and speeds of their broadband services. The fruit of this battle is that, starting today, all ISPs, excluding the smallest ones, must exhibit broadband “nutrition labels” on their plans, with the aim of letting users read up on plans and figure out if it’s what they want. The labels themselves might look weird at first sight, and it’s because they’re modeled exactly after the nutrition labels we’ve seen on everything we eat for decades. Perhaps it’s done in an attempt to make them eye-catching.


These labels, applicable to both home and mobile broadband plans, will feature details like monthly prices, introductory rates, data allowances, broadband speeds, and links to discounts or bundled services. Moreover, they will provide access to network management practices and privacy policies, both online and in physical stores. Much of this information is already available, but it previously required extensive research for consumers to uncover. The labels aim to curb deceptive practices, with ISPs mandated to disclose typical download and upload speeds for each plan, so that you actually have something to go by that’s easily accessible and readable other than the ISP’s own marketing.

Notably, Verizon, Google Fiber, and T-Mobile have already complied with the FCC’s deadline. Likewise, all big ISPs and broadband providers will need to provide this straightforward information starting today in order to comply with FCC rules. Some smaller ISPs, those who service less than 100,000 users, will have a little bit more leeway, as they have until October 10th to implement the labels. Eventually, though, after that date, they will also be forced to comply.

Source: FCC via The Verge

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By John P.

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