FCC Orders all ISPs to Implement Broadband ‘Nutrition Labels’ Disclosing Charges, Speeds, Limitations and Other Terms of Service

On November 17, 2022, the FCC released an Order and Further Rulemaking adopting rules requiring Internet service providers (“ISPs”) to display — at the point of sale — labels that disclose information about: 

  • Prices and fees (including introductory rates or discounts) applicable to the services being purchased,
  • Data allowances and broadband speeds, and
  • Information about network management practices, privacy policies and the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program. 

The Order also adopts requirements for label formatting and how/where to display labels (which are sometimes referred to as a “Nutrition Labels.”  Sample label below:

The FCC established a six (6) month period for most providers to come into compliance before the new requirements take effect.  Smaller ISPs, those with 100,000 or fewer subscriber lines, will have one (1) year to implement the rules.

In the Further Notice of Rulemaking, the FCC is also seeking comment on additional steps it can take to ensure that consumers have the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions, including issues related to more comprehensive pricing information, bundled plans, label accessibility, performance characteristics, service reliability, cybersecurity, network management and privacy issues, need for multi-lingual labels, and whether the labels should be interactive or otherwise formatted differently so the information contained in them is clearer and conveyed more effectively.

The rules will go into effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, which will not happen until the OMB concludes its statutorily mandated review.  Comments on the FNPRM are due 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Failure to comply with the rules by the applicable deadlines may expose ISPs to enforcement and forfeiture liability.

Our firm is standing by to assist clients with their efforts to comprehend the new rules, determine how they apply to their business, and implement measures to ensure compliance in a timely manner.  Please contact the attorney assigned to your account or reach out to Jonathan S. Marashlian at jsm@commlawgroup.com for assistance. 

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