As JSI previously reported, in November 2022, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) adopted new rules requiring broadband service providers to display easy-to-digest “nutrition” labels for their services at all points of sale, including on their corporate websites, in retail stores, and even over the phone, and also sought comment on a number of additional label requirements that would potentially refine its newly adopted rules.
Although the filing deadlines for comments on the FCC’s proposed broadband label requirements have now passed, JSI would like to remind all of its clients that you can still share your concerns about these proposed new rules by meeting with Commission staff before the FCC completes its rulemaking process.
Broadband Label Requirements Adopted in November 2022
As adopted, the FCC’s November 2022 rules require service providers to prepare broadband consumer labels for each stand-alone broadband plan offered to residential and business customers, and those labels must display detailed information on the pricing, introductory rates, data allowances, and performance metrics for those plans, as well as the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) participation status of the relevant service providers.
In addition, the November 2022 rules require service providers to incorporate links to certain other important information in their labels, including network management and privacy policies, and to comply with new reporting and document-retention mandates.
These rules are now pending before the Office and Management and Budget (OMD) for final approval.
Proposed Additional Broadband Label Requirements
Also, in November 2022, the FCC also sought comment on a number of proposed additional label requirements, including:
- Pricing — e.g., whether the FCC should require labels to include pricing for bundles;
- Accessibility and Languages — e.g., whether the FCC should mandate specific criteria for the format of the labels based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) or require providers to translate their labels into languages such as Chinese or Vietnamese; and
- Performance Characteristics — e.g., whether the FCC should adopt additional or modified speed testing methodologies and require labels to link to the FCC SpeedTest app.
How JSI Can Help Your Company
As previously noted, although the comment due dates in this proceeding have now passed, JSI strongly encourages all of its clients to take advantage of the remaining opportunities to have their voices heard in this matter, particularly through ex parte meetings with key decision-makers.
To that end, JSI invites all companies with concerns about the proposed additional label requirements to join one of our upcoming virtual meetings — consisting of no more than three clients per meeting — with each of the FCC Commissioners’ offices and with the Wireline Competition and Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureaus.
We understand that these additional requirements could create significant compliance burdens for many service providers, which, in turn, could make it harder for those companies to provide high-quality broadband services to rural communities across the United States.
Therefore, even if your company opts not to participate in our proposed virtual meetings, we still recommend that all interested companies fill out the brief questionnaire below, so that we can use your specific examples in our advocacy.
The more data we have, the more effective our advocacy will be.