FCC Mandates Broadband Nutrition Labels For ISPs, No More Bill Shock?

hero High Speed Internet
Customers finally let out a sigh of relief as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) now requires all U.S. internet service providers to display broadband "nutritional facts" (or "net-ritional facts", as we like to call it). The labels are required to show a complete breakdown of services and costs that each customer will be responsible for—no more surprise fees and hidden information, at least in theory.

Folks at the FCC have been hard at work (for the past eight years, in fact) trying to get your ISPs to display nutrition labels at  companies' stores and websites. A formal mandate was then been passed in 2022 requiring ISPs to display plan information and fees (such as service, equipment rental, install, termination, and activation fees) in a form similar to the nutritional labels for food. When the rule was passed, FCC Chairperson Jessica Rosenworcel said that this effort was to "end the kind of unexpected fees and junk costs that can get buried in long and mind-numbingly confusing statements of terms and conditions."

cropnutrionallabel sample
Sample of broadband label required by the FCC.

As of today, the rule states that ISPs with more than 100,000 subscribers will need to display nutrition labels, while companies under 100,000 subscribers have until October 10 to comply. Besides fees and plan information, the label has to clearly disclose whether rates are discounted or introductory rates (plus when they expire). Moreover, download/upload speeds, any data allowances, as well as links to any available discounts or bundles need to be shown up front as well.

Previously, all of this information could be found in various locations on each ISPs website, although it required quite a bit of digging around to find. With the new rule, ISPs aren't allow to hide the labels behind multiple clicks or be tucked away in some corner of their store. Customers should be able to access the info directly from their account portal, and companies are required to provide a copy of the labels upon request. 

In case you notice any ISP not complying with the new label rules or not displaying accurate information, you can file a complaint with the FCC.