Verizon to Start Broadband Labels for Transparent Consumer Comparison

Starting April 10, major broadband internet providers in the United States will be required to display information akin to nutrition labels on food products, a move aimed at aiding consumers in selecting services more effectively, according to new regulations from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Verizon Fios broadbandVerizon Communications has announced its compliance with the new rules, stating it will initiate the provision of these labels on Wednesday, Reuters news report said. The FCC initially proposed mandating these labels back in 2022, with smaller providers expected to follow suit beginning in October.

Verizon has 10.7 million broadband subscribers at the end of fourth-quarter 2023. Verizon’s Consumer Fios revenue was $11.6 billion in 2023.

FCC says broadband providers must prominently showcase labels at the point of sale, detailing prices, speeds, fees, and data allowances for both wireless and wired products.

Brian Higgins, Verizon’s Chief Customer Experience Officer, highlighted in an interview the significance of these labels in facilitating an “equal comparison” among product offerings, speeds, and fees. He emphasized that standardized labels across the industry simplify the process for customers to assess which provider best aligns with their requirements, albeit suggesting that consumers still conduct research on various bundling offers.

The concept of these labels was initially introduced as a voluntary initiative in 2016, but the mandate to enforce them came with the 2021 infrastructure law, as per Congress’s directive.

FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel hailed the move, stating that consumers would finally gain access to information enabling them to comparison shop, avoid hidden fees, and make informed decisions regarding their high-speed internet service choices.

Jessica Rosenworcel has emphasized that these labels must be readily visible on main purchasing pages, prohibiting them from being concealed in multiple clicks or reduced to inconspicuous links or icons.

In parallel efforts to enhance consumer transparency, the FCC has addressed pricing disclosure issues. This month, it adopted rules necessitating cable and satellite TV providers to prominently display “all-in” prices, aiming to eradicate what the commission deemed the “misleading practice” of presenting video programming costs as taxes, fees, or surcharges.

Furthermore, the FCC has proposed measures to prohibit cable and satellite TV providers from imposing early-termination fees on consumers wishing to exit contracts prematurely, also outlining provisions for refunding subscribers who cancel prior to the conclusion of a billing cycle.

Baburajan Kizhakedath