The FCC has released an Order on Reconsideration resolving petitions that asked the Commission to reconsider or clarify certain broadband labeling requirements. Please see our summary of the original broadband labeling requirements. In the new Order, the FCC:
- Affirmed Broadband Providers’ Obligation to Itemize Fees: The FCC affirmed that providers must itemize any fees added to base monthly prices, including any fees related to government programs they choose to pass through to consumers. Merely stating “additional fees may apply” or that “fees may vary by location” will not be sufficient. Note that if a provider does not itemize additional fees but just incorporates them into their monthly price, it can simply state “None” on the label.
- Affirmed Broadband Providers’ Obligation to Fully Describe Data Allowances: The FCC affirmed that providers should keep their descriptions of data allowances simple, and only describe the details in their more complete service descriptions in advertising materials and on their websites. A request that providers be able to use multiple lines of data allowance descriptions on the label was denied. The FCC clarified that in disclosing charges for additional data or deductions in service for using data in excess of the amount on the plan, providers are required to associate the increments of additional data and additional charges with the data tier of the data cap on the label.
- Affirmed That Enterprise Offerings Are Not Covered by the Labeling Requirement: The FCC affirmed that enterprise broadband offerings are not mass-market retail services covered by the labeling requirement.
- Reconsidered the Documentation Requirement for Interactions with Consumers at Alternative Sales Channels: The FCC reconsidered the requirement that a broadband provider document every instance when they direct a consumer to a label at an alternative sales channel and retain such documentation for two years. This requirement will now be deemed satisfied if the provider (1) establishes the business practices and processes it will follow in distributing the label through alternative sales channels; (2) retains training materials and related business practice documentation for two years; and (3) provides such information to the Commission upon request, within 30 days.
- Clarified Provider Flexibility in Identifying Taxes: The FCC clarified that a broadband provider has the flexibility to state “taxes included” when it has chosen to include taxes as part of its monthly base price.