Public Knowledge Government Affairs Director Greg Guice will testify before the Federal Communications Commission Friday, March 11 at 1:30 p.m. His testimony in the hearing on “Broadband Consumer Labels” will argue that both transparency and a straightforward, consistent explanation of what consumers are signing up for are critical to helping consumers comparison shop and make informed decisions about their broadband service.
The following is an excerpt from the testimony:
“We believe that [broadband] labels remain important today based on the continued need for consumers to have more information in evaluating broadband offerings. [We reviewed] some of the practices and language broadband service providers utilize in making their offerings known to consumers.
“Although many [provider websites] utilize a bar menu for their package offerings, the content within those bars varies, which complicates the consumer’s ability to comparison shop. Moreover, the information within the bar often focuses more on promotions associated with the offerings rather than a concise explanation of the package. This type of information is not as useful for consumers struggling to choose a… provider because it fails to give enough information to determine if a lower or higher speed offering, [for example], would best meet a household’s needs. Additionally, the speeds listed are ‘up to’ speeds and each provider notes that the advertised speed is not necessarily the speed the customer will always receive, meaning that speed will vary and the offered speed is the maximum that will be delivered.
“Furthermore, providers often bundle broadband with other services, like their voice or video offerings, obscuring the price of the stand-alone broadband service – [which often sees] a steep increase… if it is the only service the consumer chooses. What all this means for consumers is that trying to determine which broadband package will best meet their needs, fit within their budget, and offer competitive pricing is difficult. A consumer-focused, consistent broadband label will help address this problem.”
The following can be attributed to Greg Guice, Director of Government Affairs at Public Knowledge:
“We are excited the Commission is moving forward with reinstating the broadband label, as this tool has the potential to help millions of consumers better grasp the various broadband offerings in the market. Clear, transparent, and easy-to-understand broadband labels will support consumers seeking to make informed decisions about which provider would best meet their needs – an important step in getting and keeping Americans connected. We look forward to working with the FCC to make these labels a reality.”
You may view the testimony.
Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-249-9435.