FCC proposes ‘nutrition labels’ for broadband service – CNET

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The proposed rules would require internet service providers to display “easy-to-understand” information to customers.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday proposed rules that would require internet service providers to display cost and service information for consumers in easy-to-understand labels. FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel described them as broadband nutrition labels, comparing them to the labels found on foods. 

“In a grocery store nutrition labels make it easy to compare calories & carbohydrates,” Rosenworcel said in a tweet. “We need the same simple labels for broadband–so we can compare price, speed & data. No more fees in fine print.”

The proposal would require broadband providers to “display, at the point of sale, labels that show prices, including introductory rates, as well as speeds, data allowances, network management practices, and other critical broadband service information,” the FCC said in a release. The commission added that this “simple-to-understand” information will help consumers make informed choices and encourage competition in the marketplace.

The proposed rules are now subject to public comment, and the FCC said it’s seeking more information on how consumers evaluate broadband service plans and whether new guidance is needed on how labels are displayed. The proposal builds off voluntary labels the commission approved in 2016, and asks if those labels helped consumers.

The proposal still has to be discussed and passed, but it has until November to pass as part of President Joe Biden’s federal infrastructure package.

For more, read about how broadband policies aren’t working, how redlining still exists in digital form and the digital divide has left millions of school kids behind

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