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FCC to require point-of-sale labels from internet providers

Broadband services will now need to disclose prices, rates, and other plan policies to customers.

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The Federal Communications Commission unanimously voted on Thursday to require internet providers to create point-of-sale labels detailing customer plan policies and future price hikes, before they join.

FCC’s latest proposal will require broadband services to show “wifi speeds, data allowances, network management practices, and other critical service information,” a statement noted.

Customers of broadband services are being asked to comment on the updated point-of-sale labels to determine its transparency and effectiveness.

Point-of-sale labels, also called consumer-friendly labels, has been an ongoing discussion for the FCC to revise since its initial launch in 2016, as a way to eliminate harmful practices to loyal customers.

The FCC said they hope the updated labels will continue to provide internet customers with “informative choices” on competing prices and high-quality coverage.

Jessica Rosenworcel, the chairwoman of the FCC, in a tweet compared the commission’s internet labels to ‘nutrition labels’ shoppers found in a grocery store. She specifically advocated against hidden fees. 

The commission worked quickly to get the proposal passed before November to be included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by President Joe Biden in 2021.

“New infrastructure builds have accelerated due to the FCC’s reforms over the past few years. We also have $24 billion in new affordability programs that the agency stood up over the past year to make additional progress in addressing all aspects of the digital divide,” said FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr.

Carr believes the internet labels will help to build customer confidence and broadband provider transparency, an issue he says is also in question with big tech corporations like Google.

FCC’s new rule for internet providers takes on a traditional stance of ‘the customer is always right’ by holding companies accountable and hoping to give power to consumers searching for honest coverage.

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