WASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2022 — The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to require broadband providers to create “broadband nutrition labels” that list price and speed information for the Internet service they provide.
The labels mimic the format of food nutrition labels and aim to increase transparency for suppliers in their marketing to consumers.
With their approval at the committee’s monthly public meeting on Thursday, the commissioner Geoffrey Stark said the new rules are crucial for consumers to find the best deals on broadband service for their personal needs.
President of the Commission Jessica Rosenworcel praised the label’s format, saying it allows consumers to “easily compare” information and is “black and white, simple to read and easy to understand”.
The long-simmering idea was signed into law by Congress in the bipartisan infrastructure bill signed by the president on November 15. He ordered the FCC to restart the project a year after the law was passed.
Thusday, Joshua Stager, New America’s deputy director for broadband and competition policy at its Open Technology Institute, called the vote “a welcome step forward and a victory for consumers.” The think tank began promoting the idea last decade, and it had been endorsed by the Obama administration before being canned by the Trump administration.
Industry group Wireless Internet Service Providers Association said the transparency offered by the new policy “provides consumers with important tools to make informed choices.”
Additionally, at Thursday’s meeting, when the agency temporarily revoked the operating authority of telecom operator China Unicom Americas in the United States, the agency said it contacted the Department of Justice for assistance in responding to what it sees as potential threats from China. based company. This interagency review is a regular part of determinations involving foreign telecommunications companies.
The agency also updated its definition of “library” to clarify that tribal libraries are eligible to receive funds under the Universal Service Fund’s E-rate program.
Starks pointed out that the commission’s action represents progress in digital inclusion efforts, but that tribal libraries’ unfamiliarity with the E-rate program remains an issue.