If you enjoy studying the sides of cereal boxes as you browse the supermarket aisles, you’ll love the FCC’s new labels for broadband internet service.
Those black-and-white “nutritional information” labels that grace the sides of everything from Wheaties to frozen raviolis are coming to an internet service provider near you.
The FCC has created similar labels to provide a quick and easy way for consumers to compare the precise contents of the broadband services offered by companies like AT&T and Verizon.
Like the familiar food labels that highlight things like proteins, sugars and sodium, the internet labels break out key “nutritional” information such as typical upstream and downstream speeds, latency and additional data usage charges.
The creation of the labels follows the agency’s adoption last year of net neutrality rules which require that internet service providers treat all traffic equally and requires that the companies provide consumers with clear info about internet they internet plans on offer. According to the Wall Street Journal, the FCC has said it receives about 2,000 consumer complaints every year from consumers about unexpected broadband fees.
The FCC decided that food labels provided the ideal template for an easy-to-understand format for broadband service, meeting more than 20 times to “discuss and develop” the labels. There are separate labels for fixed and mobile broadband services.