Randy Yohe Published

Internet Service Providers Required To Display Consumer Friendly Product Labeling

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Broadband labels must be easy-to-read and include broadband prices, introductory rate details, data allowances and broadband speeds.
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Broadband labeling has been in development since 2015, and was completed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Biden Administration.

The new federal rules take effect April 10, 2024. They say any company, large or small, that offers standalone broadband internet service is required to prominently display consumer friendly labels at the point of sale, including in store and online.

What looks like a nutrition label is shown, but instead of the standard "Nutrition Facts" at the top of the label, it instead reads, "Broadband Facts." Underneath are a long list of facts, including "Monthly Price," "Additional Charges & Terms," "Discounts & Bundles," etc.
This broadband label was purposefully stylized after food nutrition labels.

Courtesy of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

The labeling will resemble the nutrition labels found on food products. The labels must be easy-to-read and include broadband prices, introductory rate details, data allowances and broadband speeds. The labels must also include easy-to-navigate links to learn more about available discounts or service bundles, network management practices and privacy policies. 

Separate labels must be displayed for each standalone broadband service offered and it cannot be buried where multiple clicks are reduced to a link, thumbnail or icon that a consumer might miss. 

FCC Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Chief Alejandro Roark said it was vital to get internet access service clarified and simplified.

“The FCC borrowed the nutrition label model format from food products because we wanted to make basic information about broadband internet service easily recognizable and easy to understand,” Roark said. “Our rules require that these labels be fully displayed at the point of sale, including on the main purchasing pages that providers may have online.” 

Deputy Director of the White House National Economic Council Jon Donenberg said the labels will help consumers comparison shop for internet service, eliminating obscure terms and fine print.      

“It will make sure that you have a clear, straightforward explanation of your home internet and mobile plans and services before you sign up for anything,” Donenberg said. “That transparency will also save you money. By making it easier to directly compare plans from one provider to another. Consumers will be able to get the best and most affordable deal on the market or the exact type of service that they need. And companies can compete on offering better terms, not just more confusing ones.”

Roark said the labeling requirements will be extended to the consumer’s monthly bills. 

“We’re also making sure that consumers access the standardized, easy to understand information about their internet service plan and doesn’t end when they sign up for service.” Roark said. “In particular, the commission required internet service providers to make the labels accessible on a consumer’s online account. That means that consumers will be able to find this information whenever they pay their bill, compare their current plan to other plans, or engage in any other activity online.”

Regarding potential violations of the broadband labeling laws, the FCC Enforcement Bureau and other bureaus will monitor public reporting consumer complaints to the commission, notices from partner agencies and use other investigative tools to monitor compliance with the law, and refer matters to the Enforcement Bureau as appropriate.

Consumers who feel that the transparency rules are not being met may file complaints with the FCC. The commission will follow up on those complaints to see if there is some larger pattern that may need to be acted on. 

To view a glossary that helps consumers better understand the information displayed on the label, click here.

Click here for a sample home broadband label.

Click here for a sample mobile broadband label.