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The Significance of the Consumer Broadband Label

Are you able to understand your monthly broadband bill? According to a November 2022 Consumer Reports publication, Broadband Pricing, 2,827 of 22,088 internet bills analyzed were bundled, making it impossible for the consumer to determine the cost of the service and compare prices with other internet service providers. Hidden fees are another feature of bundling. Trying to “Interpret” your broadband bill is something consumers should not have to do.

“Every consumer needs transparent information when making decisions about what internet service offering makes the most sense for their family or household,” said Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Jessica Rosenworcel. ***No one wants to be hit with charges they didn’t ask for or they did not expect. That’s why Broadband Consumer Labels are so important. The Open Technology Institute (OTI) submitted nine total initial comments and recommendations regarding the labels to the FCC. For brevity, I’ve included four of those recommendations here:

  1. Broadband disclosures are opaque, confusing, and intimidating.
  2. The labels must promote transparency, simplicity, and competition.
  3. The labels can promote digital equity and other pro-consumer goals.
  4. Small providers are market leaders on transparency.

Broadband Nutrition Label

First created back in 2009 by a Washington D.C. “think and action tank”- the Open Technology Institute (OTI), they called it a “broadband nutrition label.” The label was thus named because it was modeled after the Food and Drug Administration’s nutrition label for food products. The purpose of the label is to have clear, easy-to-understand information about broadband services and pricing in a consistent format for consumers to understand and compare pricing.

ISPs with more than 100,000 customers will have to start using the new labels within six months. All other ISPs have a year to implement. Below is an example of the new broadband label.

Digital Inclusion Fact Sheets

Broadband Toolkit

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