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New FCC rule forces T-Mobile, others to display 'nutrition labels' for plans

These broadband labels will help consumers avoid hidden fees and extra costs.

Published onApril 10, 2024

T Mobile logo on smartphone (3)
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • The FCC has mandated new broadband “nutrition labels” for all wired and wireless internet service providers (ISPs).
  • These labels must clearly break down plan costs, speeds, and hidden fees, resembling the ingredient lists found on food products.
  • Since today was the rollout deadline, we’re seeing them appear on carrier websites.

Starting today, T-Mobile and other internet service providers (ISPs) across the United States have begun displaying broadband facts labels under new federal regulations. These “nutrition labels” aim to give consumers a transparent look at what they’re paying for when they sign up for broadband service, including both wired and wireless services.

According to the FCC, this initiative aims to eliminate surprises on monthly bills. President Biden underscored this aspect in a recent announcement as an effort to combat “junk fees.”

While these labels won’t eliminate hidden charges entirely, they make them far harder to conceal. The FCC mandates disclosure of “important information about broadband prices, introductory rates, data allowances, and broadband speeds.” Additionally, links to network management and privacy policies are required.

For consumers, the labels present a goldmine of valuable data. Consumers can now compare plans from different providers more easily, factoring in all costs and potential performance limitations upfront. For example, T-Mobile’s labels reveal surprisingly small differences in potential speeds between their deprioritized and prioritized data plans.

Along with T-Mobile, Verizon and Google Fi have also put up these broadband labels on their websites. These FCC-mandated labels are intentionally designed to resemble nutritional labels on food packaging, as seen in the examples above.

The labels stem from the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), a $1.2 trillion package that contained provisions for multiple sectors, including broadband infrastructure. The act tasked the FCC with creating labels to empower informed consumer choice when picking broadband plans.

Larger ISPs exceeding 100,000 subscribers had a deadline of April 10, 2024, to implement the labels. Smaller ISPs have a bit more time, needing full compliance by October 2024. The FCC has yet to announce specific penalties for non-compliance.

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