ACA Connects urges FCC to avoid 'extraneous requirements' for new broadband labels
ACA Connects, a group representing small and midsized broadband service providers, this week added its latest thoughts about the FCC's proposed rulemaking on nutrition-style broadband labels that aim to help consumers comparison shop for high-speed Internet services.
In comments filed March 24, ACA Connects urged the Commission to "avoid extraneous requirements" that would likely undermine rather than fulfill the purpose of any new rules, and it asked for the Commission to follow through on steps that would mitigate implementation burdens for smaller service providers. The organization also recommended that its constituents will need a year or more to comply with any requirements that come out of the process.
ACA Connects' reply comments enter the picture a couple of months after the FCC voted to adopt a notice of proposed rulemaking, effectively resurrecting a plan first introduced in 2016. (Please see here for a roundup of input from several other industry stakeholders.)
Noting that there's a "clear roadmap" for the FCC to adopt requirements for broadband labels, ACA Connects argued that there's no need for the Commission to "revisit its well-established guidelines for reporting of actual speeds and latency by fixed broadband providers ... [T]here is no evidence that the Commission's longstanding guidance for fixed broadband providers in reporting actual speeds and latency on their transparency disclosures has led to systemic or widespread deficiencies in reporting."
ACA Connects also pressed the FCC to adopt the group's suggestion to not require the reporting of packet loss on broadband labels. It's an "esoteric" metric that is "incomprehensible to the typical consumer," and not one that is easy to convey on a label," ACA Connects said.
The group also suggested that the FCC should avoid being too granular by layering in privacy practices on the face of the label. Doing so would "throw the proportions of the label out of balance and is unnecessary to enable consumers to take privacy into account when comparing providers and plans," ACA Connects argued.
Standard pricing and promotional rates
The organization wants the FCC to largely follow guidance on the 2016 labels regarding how pricing information is reported. ISPs, ACA Connects added, should be allowed to report non-promotional monthly rates along with a link to a separate page that does contain promotional rates, bundles and other pricing options.
ACA Connects noted that this point is amplified by USTelecom, which held that packing all of those pricing disclosures on labels would be "unnecessarily complex and unclear for consumers" and put tremendous burdens on providers. ACA Connects also agreed with AT&T that disclosing info about the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) on the labels would be "too complex," but suggested that the FCC should at least provide clarification on the requirements pertaining to ACP disclosures.
ACA Connects believes guidance on "point of sale" disclosures, such as posting labels prominently on websites, is sufficient, but it wants the FCC to reject calls that labels be displayed on marketing materials. "It is simply infeasible to reproduce this amount of information in such a wide array of contexts, and attempts to do so are likely to overwhelm consumers," the group said.
A year or more is needed to comply
ACA Connects also weighed in on how much time should be allowed for compliance once the broadband label rules are adopted.
While there's been suggestions that a six-month period is sufficient to implement the labels, ACA Connects agreed with fellow cable group NCTA and AT&T that the operational complexities involved would require more time.
"Given the complexity and volume of compliance tasks involved, we urge the Commission to establish an effective date for its broadband label requirements at least one year – rather than six months – from the date of OMB [Office of Management and Budget] approval."
And should the FCC layer in more expansive requirements supported by some commenters, "even a one-year timeframe is unlikely to be sufficient," ACA Connects said.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading
A version of this story first appeared on Light Reading.
Here's where you can find episode links for 'The Divide,' Light Reading's podcast series featuring conversations with broadband providers and policymakers working to close the digital divide.
As we have for the past two years, Light Reading will present our Cable Next-Gen Europe conference as a free digital symposium on June 21.
Charter has sparked RDOF work in all 24 states where it won bids. The cable op booked about $19 million in RDOF revenues in Q1, and expects to have about $9 million per month come in over the next ten years.
As we have for the past two years, Light Reading will stage the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies conference as a free digital event over two half-days in mid-March.
Launch of 2-Gig and 5-Gig FTTP tiers in 70-plus markets puts more pressure on cable ops to enhance their existing DOCSIS 3.1 network or accelerate their upgrade activity centered on the new DOCSIS 4.0 specs.
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
1:00 p.m. New York / 6:00 p.m. London
When your broadband business adds new services and connected devices, do they also add complexity, slowing customer support teams as they navigate multiple data sources to uncover connectivity issues? We’ve worked with hundreds of support teams to help them implement a subscriber experience management platform that gives greater visibility into subscriber issues. They can proactively troubleshoot amid complexity—improving the subscriber experience and raising customer satisfaction ratings like Net Promoter Scores.
Join this webinar with experts from Calix and global research leader Omdia who will share exclusive research about how you can:
Broadband World News
About Us Advertise With Us Contact Us Help Register Twitter Facebook RSS
Copyright © 2023 Light Reading, part of Informa Tech,
in partnership with