Cracking Down on the Broadband Deception

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For the smartest species our world has ever seen, human beings have a pretty shocking track record in regards to making mistakes. This has already been reinforced quite a few times throughout our history, with each testimony practically forcing us to look for a defensive cover. We will, however, solve our conundrum in the most fitting way possible, and we’ll do so by bringing regulatory bodies into the fold. Having a well-defined authority across each and every area was a game-changer, as it instantly gave us a safety cushion against our many shortcomings. Now, the kind of utopia you would expect from such a development did arrive, but at the same time, it failed to stick around for very long. Talk about what caused its sudden death; the answer will have technology’s mention before anything else. You see, the moment technology got its layered nature to take over the scene, it allowed every individual an unprecedented chance to fulfil their ulterior motives at the expense of others’ well-being. In case this didn’t sound bad enough, the whole runner began to materialize on such a massive scale that it expectantly overwhelmed our governing forces and sent them back to the square one. After a lengthy spell in the middle of nowhere though, it seems like the regulatory contingent is finally ready to make a comeback. The same has gotten more and more evident over the recent past, and truth be told, a new regulation should only turn that trend bigger and better moving forward.

Following months of deliberation, rejection, and what not, the Federal Communications Commission has formally passed a law, which makes it mandatory for internet service providers to display what the bill deems as ‘nutrition labels.’ Under the new regulation, these broadband companies must provide the user with an extensive lowdown on things like monthly price, length of the contract, whether the stated price will change after a certain period and what it will change to, a complete list of monthly and one-time fees, usual download and upload speeds, latency, and more. Apart from it, the companies are also obligated to share if they are actively participating in the country’s Affordable Connectivity Program. If that’s actually the case, then they would need to display a link for the user to check their individual qualification status.

“Our rules will require that broadband nutrition labels are fully displayed when a consumer is making a purchasing decision. That means consumers will have simple, easy-to-read facts about price, speed, data allowances, and other aspects of high-speed internet service up front,” said Jessica Rosenworcel. FCC Chairwoman

Notably enough, the FCC requires the proverbial nutrition labels to be displayed on the company’s main purchasing page. Hence, the companies cannot hide them behind multiple clicks or any other details. In a further attempt to make sure that they are having the desired impact, the commission stated how these labels must be accessible from your customer account portal, and the provider must give you a copy whenever you ask. Hold on, there is still some left. Taking up a long-term view, the stated piece of information is also mandated to be machine-readable, therefore allowing third-party developers to conceive tools which can simplify comparison between different ISPs.

Although the bill is currently waiting on a review from Office of Management and Budget, the approval here would really be the last step, and once that is passed, companies will have upto six months, or for smaller companies, a year to comply with the new regulation.

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