Public Hearings on Broadband Labels

Watch the FCC's second public hearing on the open proceeding for broadband labels held on April 7, 2022.

 

Watch the FCC's first public hearing on broadband labels held on March 11, 2022.

The FCC has proposed new rules that would require broadband providers to display easy-to-understand labels to allow consumers to comparison shop for broadband services. The proposal would require broadband providers to display, at the point of sale, labels that show prices, including introductory rates, as well as speeds, data allowances, network management practices, and other critical broadband service information.

Access to accurate, simple-to-understand information about broadband internet access services helps consumers make informed choices and is central to a well-functioning marketplace that encourages competition, innovation, low prices, and high-quality service. The proposal is based on voluntary labels the Commission previously approved in a 2016 Public Notice, and responds to direction in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act for the FCC to require providers to create consumer-friendly labels with information about their broadband services.

Comments Sought on Proposal

With the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the FCC is seeking comment on a number topics, including the following:

  • Have broadband service offerings and consumers' use of broadband services changed sufficiently since the Commission approved labels in 2016 to necessitate modifications to the labels' content and/or format, or whether there are any other reasons to change the content or format of the labels?
  • Where should the labels be displayed to best inform consumers?
  • How should the Commission enforce the label requirement and ensure the accuracy of label content?

The FCC also seeks comment on implementation issues, including the time by which broadband providers should be required to display the labels.

Comments on the proposal were due March 9, 2022, and reply comments were due March 24, 2022.

Public Hearings on the Proposed Rules

The Infrastructure Act requires the FCC to adopt regulations within a year of its passage and to conduct a series of public hearings to help inform the labeling requirements.

A second hearing was held April 7, 2022 and streamed free to the public. The second hearing focused directly on consumer testimony and explored in greater detail how information is conveyed and considered by consumers.

The agenda included:

  • 1:30 pm – 1:45 pm: Opening Remarks and Introductions
    • Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, FCC
    • Alejandro Roark, Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
  • 1:45 pm – 2:15 pm: Roundtable with Consumers from Around the Country
  • 2:20 pm – 2:50 pm: Roundtable of Experts to Discuss the Consumer Mindset: Decision-making, Technology, and Consumer Choice
    • Professor Lorrie Cranor, Carnegie Mellon University
    • Professor Ellen Peters, University of Oregon
  • 2:55 pm – 3:25 pm: Roundtable on What Is Useful? Understanding Speed, Data Plans, and Households Needs.
    • Amina Fazlullah, Common Sense
    • Angela Siefer, National Digital Inclusion Alliance
    • Jonathan Schwantes, Consumer Reports
  • 3:25 – 3:30 pm: Wrap Up and Event Conclusion

The first hearing took place March 11, 2022 and was also streamed free to the public. The purpose of the first hearing was to evaluate the effectiveness of the current transparency rule and provide necessary background for the new label requirement, including whether additional disclosure requirements are necessary.

 

2016 Fixed Broadband Label Sample

2016 Fixed Consumer Broadband Label Sample
Click to view full size sample.

2016 Mobile Broadband Label Sample

2016 Fixed Consumer Broadband Label Sample
Click to view full size sample.

 

Updated: 
Friday, April 8, 2022