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Broadband 'nutrition labels' kick in, revealing hidden fees for ISPs

2024-04-10 14:51 by
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New FCC "broadband nutrition labels" go into effect beginning today, forcing ISPs to disclose all of the normally hidden costs and speeds.

Starting this week, Americans looking to purchase a new internet line will encounter a familiar looking box. Today, Internet service providers (ISP) and mobile broadband carriers began showing potential customers a Federal Communication Commission (FCC) mandated "broadband consumer label" that clearly explains how much they will have to pay for services and the estimated internet speeds they should expect to receive. Modeled after the ubiquitous nutrition labels in grocery stores, the FCC hopes these new labels could cut down on opaque hidden service fees and provide needed transparency to consumers trying to save money on broadband access.

Most of the information in the labels is publicly available but would require some time and research for the average consumer to sleuth out. In the past, the broadband industry has published advertised speeds for broadband plans that misrepresent the actual connection speeds available for most customers. The new labels should cut down on this practice; ISPs must now publish "typical" download and upload speeds with each plan.

The FCC first floated the idea of nutrition labels for ISPs back in 2016, but it wasn't until 2022 that it formally introduced rules requiring them to be displayed at the companies' points of sale. It resembles the nutrition labels for food and will (theoretically and hopefully) account for every dollar you pay for a wired or wireless plan. Back when the rule was announced, FCC Chairperson Jessica Rosenworcel explained that the agency chose to approve and implement it as part of its efforts to "end the kind of unexpected fees and junk costs that can get buried in long and mind-numbingly confusing statements of terms and conditions."

Read more -here-


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