US ISPs must display broadband ‘nutrition’ labels from today

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US internet service providers with over 100,000 subscribers must now display standardised broadband labels that lay out the true costs, speeds, and data caps for their services.

The new rules from the Federal Communications Commission take effect today in response to widespread complaints about hidden fees and misleading marketing tactics used by broadband companies.

“For too long, the ISP industry has gotten away with burying the true cost of their services in fine print and luring customers with promises of ‘up to’ speeds they rarely experience,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

The labels must prominently display key details in a standard format, including:

  • The base monthly price, any introductory rates and when they expire
  • The total monthly cost after all fees and taxes 
  • One-time fees and early termination charges
  • Typical real-world download and upload speeds, not just maximum caps
  • Monthly data allowances and overage fees

Here’s a sample label:

The goal is to prevent ISPs from advertising low-ball pricing that balloons after signup or quoting fanciful “up to” speed claims that don’t reflect user experience.

While the labels are a step forward, some argue they don’t go far enough, failing to require disclosure of prices for different speed tiers or bundled services. The FCC plans to revisit potential expansions based on real-world feedback.

“With these new broadband nutrition labels, consumers will finally have the information they need upfront to make informed choices,” Rosenworcel concludes.

(Photo by Nick Fewings)

See also: Virgin Media O2 launches ‘smart support’ to proactively solve issues

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Tags: broadband, fcc, internet service providers, isps, nutrition label, Operators, telecoms, usa


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