(article: www.theverge.com by Micah Singleton, April 4, 2016)
FCC introduces broadband labels inspired by nutrition facts.
The Federal Communications Commission has unveiled new broadband labels, modeled after the nutrition facts label found on food products throughout the US, as a way to give consumers more details about their home and mobile internet service. The labels detail pricing, internet speeds, latency, data caps, modem costs, and early termination fees among other items in an easy-to-understand format. Currently users have to call their internet service provider or do their own research to find out much of that information.
While ISPs aren’t required to use the labels, they are bound by new transparency rules included in the FCCs net neutrality order, and the commission is trying to make its label standard. And with the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee — which includes representatives from CenturyLink, Google, Verizon, and T-Mobile — approving the labels, there’s a strong possibility there won’t be too much pushback on the new format.
“These labels provide consumers clarity about the broadband service they are purchasing, not only helping them to make more informed choices but also preventing surprises when the first bill arrives,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement. “Customers deserve to know the price they will actually pay for a service and to be fully aware of other components such as data limits and performance factors before they sign up for service.”