There are going to be new labels unveiled for broadband and mobile internet services, which will help consumers and the nation's internet users make price and service comparisons when they are shopping for service.
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These labels, which are going to be monitored by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, are similar in style to the federally required nutrition labels that you see on the sides of food in the U.S. It also looks like the information on credit card statements, allowing users to see the disclosures of fees, add-on charges, service speeds, and reliability.
Unfortunately, the labels are (yet) required, but they are recommended. According to the FCC, there are 97.8 million American households and business subscribers that use fixed broadband services and 223 million U.S. mobile phones that access the internet.
This means that around 85% of all American spend some time on the internet, spending around $60 to $70 a month on service. These new labels could help them compare what they are getting to what other providers are offering.
The new program was unveiled by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray in Washington. The move was supported by a committee of industry and consumer groups. Wheeler said that competition would help everyone:
"This is industry and advocates coming together unanimously," Wheeler said. "Customers deserve to know the price they will actually pay for a service and to be fully aware of other components such as data limits and performance factors before they sign up for service."
Cordray said "consumers deserve to know before they owe, with clear, upfront information about the prices, risks and terms of the deal."
Scott Bergmann, who is the VP of Regulatory Affairs at wireless trade association CTIA said that carriers "already provide disclosure and transparency as part of the consumer code for wireless service. The competitive nature of the wireless broadband market does more for consumers than regulation can hope to achieve."
This label is actually a part of a 2015 FCC net neutrality order, according to NBC. That deal requires disclosures by internet providers.