The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has unanimously voted in favor of requiring broadband providers to provide a “nutrition label.”
The American broadband industry is notorious for hidden fees, equipment rentals, escalating charges, and a slew of other practices that make it virtually impossible for a user to make an informed decision when shopping for internet access. These practices are one of the reasons internet companies often rank among the most-hated in the US.
The FCC is now taking a significant step toward addressing the problem, requiring broadband companies to provide customers with easy-to-read labels that will facilitate comparison shopping. The inspiration behind the labels is the nutrition labels that are required on food sold in grocery stores.
“If you walk into any grocery store and pull boxes of cereal from the shelves, you can easily compare calories and carbohydrates,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “That’s because they have a common nutrition label. It’s black and white, simple to read, and easy to understand. It helps consumers make good choices.
“I think the Federal Communications Commission needs to do the same with broadband. That’s because it is now an essential service—for everyone, everywhere. So we want to make it easier for consumers to compare their options and understand just what they’re signing up for. We want to develop a consistent and straightforward way of providing accurate information about price, speed, data allowances, and other aspects of high-speed service. We want to end efforts to bury facts in the fine print and we want to stop unexpected costs and fees.”
Not only did the move have unanimous support from the FCC’s commissioners, but it’s sure to be a big hit with consumers.