What Are the Broadband “Nutrition Labels” and Why Do They Matter?

Finally, there’s an easy way to understand internet plans.

Tyler Abbott
Apr 05, 2024
Icon Time To Read3 min read

Hungry for some microchips? Any packaged food you buy at a store normally has a nutrition label printed on the back to give you an idea of what the ingredients are and how much it will add to your daily calorie count.

Starting in April 2024, you can find similar labels from your internet provider. As part of an initiative launched by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), internet providers across the country must post broadband consumer labels at point of sale on websites and other assets. The goal is offering internet customers a quick rundown of facts about their internet plans.

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What are broadband fact “nutrition” labels?

The new broadband fact “nutrition” labels are inspired by the FDA’s nutrition facts labels. They make clear, easy-to-understand statements that you can find on internet providers’ websites and other places where Wi-Fi is sold. The FCC mandated that internet providers include these labels for consumers to easily digest price, speeds, and contract details at a glance. This is what the consumer labels will look like.

Broadband nutrition facts

What is the purpose of the consumer broadband labels?

The main goal of the consumer broadband labels is to provide essential information for customers in a quick, easy-to-understand way. It’s the same idea as the labels you see on packaged food or over-the-counter medications. Potential customers can get a clear understanding of internet speeds, prices, performance, and contract details before locking themselves into a contract with a subpar internet provider.

Comparing internet providers also becomes significantly easier. You can quickly compare typical download speeds from different providers, or even compare different plans from the same provider. It should feel very similar to the last time you went to the grocery store and compared the generic brand Fruity Pebbles with the classic Flintstones version.

What information will be displayed on the new labels?

These are the main stats included with with the consumer broadband labels:

  • Price per month
  • Whether or not the price is a discounted introductory rate
  • How long the introductory pricing lasts (if applicable)
  • Price per month after the introductory price (if applicable)
  • Length of contracted required (if applicable)
  • Any additional monthly fees, along with an itemized list of each cost (e.g. equipment rentals)
  • Any one-time installation fees at the start of service
  • Any potential cancellation fees
  • Taxes
  • Any discounts, including discounts from bundle deals
  • Whether or not the provider participates in the Affordable Connectivity Program, a government program that can reduce the cost of internet service for qualified customers
  • Typical download and upload speeds
  • Typical latency
  • Information about potential data caps and the cost of exceeding the data cap
  • Links to network management and privacy policies from the provider
  • Customer support contact information

All labels will be structured identically and provide the same information.

Where can I find the broadband facts labels?

According to the FCC website, “consumers should look for broadband labels at any point of sale, including online and in stores.” Starting April 10, 2024, you should clearly see a broadband facts label on any internet provider’s website or brick-and-mortar store.

How do I use broadband consumer labels to compare internet providers?

Thankfully the broadband consumer labels feel pretty straightforward, but we would recommend focusing on three main categories:

  • Typical download and upload speeds
  • Data caps
  • Price

Download and upload speeds determine how well your internet performs. The higher the download speeds, the more quickly your connected devices can download information from the internet. In other words, faster download speeds means you can stream TV in 4K and scroll through TikTok without encountering annoying buffering. Upload speeds aren’t usually as important as download speeds unless you host live content from your TikTok or Twitch channel.

Thankfully a lot of the best internet providers are doing away with data caps, but it’s still something you need to watch out for. Data caps put a limit on the amount of data you can download in a given month. Basically everything you do on the internet requires downloading data, including streaming, gaming, and remote working. Aim for an internet provider with an unlimited data cap, or at least a high enough data cap that you won’t need to track your internet usage.

Last but not least, consider the price for the entire package. Make sure you’re not paying more for an internet plan with slower speeds and a data cap when you have better options available in your area.

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Overall, these broadband “nutrition labels” will make shopping for an internet plan much easier. Comparing internet providers at a glance and getting all the need-to-know information up front streamlines the research process and makes choosing an internet plan much simpler.

Tyler Abbott
Written by
Tyler Abbott
Tyler has been obsessed with watching sports as efficiently as possible since the creation of the DVR. He is always on the lookout for the best tech in TV and wireless so he can watch all the sports and still have enough time to hang out with his baby. He has written about streaming, wireless, and TV for over three years. He hopes the Lakers will eventually get better.

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