OTI: Broadband Nutrition Labels Are Mandatory

Proposed 'Broadband Nutrition Label'

(Image credit: FCC)

New America's Open Technology Institute (OTI) wants to nip in the bud any suggestion the FCC may be making that the congressionally mandated broadband nutrition label is voluntary.

The FCC plans to vote at its January 27 open meeting on implementing the requirement in the Biden infrastructure bill that ISPs be required to provide broadband service consumer labels that let consumers know what speed and quality of service they are getting at which price and with what fees attached.

FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel has said that label must include "accurate information about prices, introductory rates, data allowances, and broadband speeds."

Any ISP that does not deliver on that label could be pursued by the Federal Trade Commission under its authority to prevent "false and deceptive" advertising.

OTI has reached out to correct any suggestion that the FCC could make the label voluntary, and said it has confirmed with Rosenworcel that the mandate is just that.

"Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall promulgate regulations to require the display of broadband consumer labels," the law said.

OTI proposed such a label in 2009 and worked hard to get it included in the mammoth infrastructure package with its approximately $65 billion in broadband spending. ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.