American internet providers will soon offer new comparison labels, reports Reuters.

American internet providers will soon offer new comparison labels, reports Reuters.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Verizon logo is seen on the 375 Pearl Street building in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 22, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Major U.S. broadband Internet providers must begin displaying information similar to nutrition labels on food products to help consumers purchase services starting April 10, under new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules.

VerizonCommunications (NYSE:) said it would begin supplying the labels on Wednesday. The FCC first decided to mandate these labels in 2022. Small providers will be required to provide labels starting in October.

The rules require broadband providers to display point-of-sale labels listing prices, speeds, fees and data limits for wireless and wireline products.

Brian Higgins, Verizon’s chief customer experience officer, said in an interview that the labels will help consumers make “an equal comparison” between product offerings, speeds and charges.

Higgins said standardized labels across the industry “make it easier for customers to compare which supplier will be best suited to their needs.” He said customers will still need to look for various bundles among operators.

The labels were first unveiled as a voluntary program in 2016. Congress directed the FCC to make them mandatory under the 2021 Infrastructure Act.

“Consumers will finally get information they can use to compare prices, avoid unnecessary charges and make informed choices about the high-speed Internet service best suited to their needs and budget,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, president of the FCC.

Labels must be fully displayed on the main shopping pages and “cannot be buried with multiple clicks or reduced to a link or icon that a consumer might miss,” Rosenworcel added.

The FCC is tackling various price disclosure issues and this month adopted rules requiring cable and satellite TV providers to clearly specify “all-in” prices to end what the commission called “deceptive practice of describing video programming costs as a tax, fee, or surcharge.”

The FCC also proposed prohibiting cable and satellite TV providers from charging consumers early termination fees to terminate contracts and from reimbursing subscribers if they cancel before the end of a billing cycle.

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