FCC rejects proposals to reconsider broadband label rules

Aug. 31, 2023
The regulator says the labels will give consumers better information on what they are paying for when buying broadband services.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rejected petitions to reconsider its Broadband Consumer Label rules. It argued that its action preserves consumer access to what it says is clear, easy-to-understand, and accurate information about the cost and performance of broadband services.  

As required by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the FCC adopted the new rules in 2022 requiring broadband internet service providers to display labels at the point of sale that disclose essential information about broadband prices, introductory rates, data allowances, and broadband speeds, and to include links to information about their network management practices, privacy policies, and the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program. 

After adopting the Broadband Label Order, several petitions were filed asking the Commission to clarify and reconsider specific label requirements. The Order on Reconsideration essentially affirms the rules adopted in the Report and Order while making some revisions and clarifications, such as modifying provider record-keeping requirements when directing consumers to a label on an alternative sales channel and confirming that providers may state “taxes included” when their price already incorporates taxes.

The rules will go into effect following the legally required review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  After this Paperwork Reduction Act analysis is complete, most providers will have to display the label within six months of approval; providers with 100,000 or fewer subscriber lines face a deadline of twelve months after OMB approval. 

Jessica Rosenworcel, FCC chairwoman, said the labels are designed to prevent consumer broadband sticker shock. “Every consumer needs transparent information when deciding what internet service offering makes the most sense for their family or household,” she said. “No one wants to be hit with charges they didn’t ask for or expect. That’s why Broadband Consumer Labels are so important.”