When you’re shopping for packaged food in the US, you can get a quick overview of its nutritional data by reading a label on the side of the box. Soon you may start seeing similar-looking labels when shopping for broadband internet service.
The FCC has released a proposal for “Point-Of-Sales Labels” that could bring more transparency about hidden fees and what you’re actually getting for your money when you sign up for home or wireless broadband service.
For example, it’s usually pretty easy to find the introductory rates offered by internet service providers. But it can be a lot tougher to figure out how much you’ll end up paying when the introductory rate goes away after a year or two. And information about things like activation fees, modem rental fees, and early termination fees is often hidden in the fine print.
If the new broadband “nutrition labels” are approved, you’d see all of that information up front.
Other information that would be provided includes data transfer speeds, data caps, and network management practices like throttling.
The FCC has taken the first step toward requiring these labels by voting to approve a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. But there are a few more hoops to jump through before they take effect – public comment needs to be collected before a final vote is made.
This isn’t the first time the FCC tried to require broadband providers to offer more transparency through point-of-sales labels. The regulator introduced similar labels in 2016 during the final months of the Obama administration, before they were abandoned by the Trump administration.
via Ars Technica