The Federal Communications Commission on Monday announced new consumer broadband labels designed to give consumers better information about the price, service, and terms of different broadband services.

“These labels provide consumers clarity about the broadband service they are purchasing, not only helping them to make more informed choices but also preventing surprises when the first bill arrives,” said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler.

The FCC receives more than 2,000 complaints a year about surprise Internet fees and reports that consumers can end up paying 40 percent more than the advertised price of their broadband service. The FCC asked its Consumer Advisory Committee to come up with a system similar to food labels that would inform consumers more accurately of the service they are purchasing.

“Consumers deserve to know before they owe, with clear, upfront information about the prices, risks, and terms of the deal,” said Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray.

The labels act as a recommended format for broadband companies to comply with the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet rules, which require broadband providers to disclose this information to consumers in an accurate, understandable, and easy-to-find manner.

The broadband labels would provide succinct information about price, data allowances, and performance. However, due to the fact that the labels are only a recommendation for Open Internet rules compliance, broadband companies may choose to provide this information in an entirely different format.

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Jessie Bur
Jessie Bur
Jessie Bur is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering Cybersecurity, FedRAMP, GSA, Congress, Treasury, DOJ, NIST and Cloud Computing.