The US Federal Communications Commission on Thursday proposed new rules that would require internet service providers (ISPs) to prominently display easy-to-understand labels to help consumers comparison shop for broadband services. Under the proposal, ISPs would have to display the labels -- modeled after nutrition labels found on food packaging -- at the point of sale.
The proposed labels show prices, speeds, data allowances, network management practices, and other key broadband service information.
"Access to accurate, simple-to-understand information about broadband internet access services helps consumers make informed choices and is central to a well-functioning marketplace that encourages competition, innovation, low prices, and high-quality service," the FCC wrote in a release Thursday.
The FCC first approved this style of label for ISPs to display on a voluntary basis in 2016. Now, ISPs will be required to display this kind of information under the recently-passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The bill also included more than $65 billion to build out broadband networks and make broadband more affordable. Under the new law, the FCC has a year to set up the new broadband labeling requirements.
The next step is for the FCC to hear from the public. The agency is seeking comments on things like: how consumers evaluate broadband service plans; whether the 2016 labels will assist consumers with the purchase process; whether the 2016 labels should be updated in terms of content and format; and whether the commission should provide new guidance about where broadband providers must display such labels.