Nutrition labels help me do that with food. The FCC is now adding them to Internet services.
I recently reached that age where my doctor has advised me to watch what I eat – cut back on sodium, be aware of the fat I’m taking in, cholesterol is not your friend, and so on. As a result, I’ve been paying a lot more attention to nutrition labels when I’m shopping. In one easy-to-read label on virtually any item in the grocery store, I can get the information I need to make a healthy decision.
As a consumer, I believe it is my right to know what I’m buying in order to make smart choices, and nutrition labels help me do that with food. But what about the other products and services that we buy? Shouldn’t we, as consumers, have access to the information we need to make informed purchases?
That’s why I like a new initiative launched this week by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States. In an effort to enhance transparency for consumers on key Internet performance indicators (like price, speed and data allowances) the FCC has announced the creation of consumer broadband labels. Like nutrition labels on food products, the new broadband labels will provide consumers with easy-to-understand information so they are able to make informed decisions about fixed and mobile Internet service before they sign up for a service. Notably, this is launched as a voluntary program and it will be interesting to watch what happens going forward.
We don’t have anything like this in Canada, but if you are interested in knowing how your Internet service is performing, check out CIRA’s Internet Performance Test (IPT). The IPT will accurately tell you your upload and download speeds, as well as how your Internet service is performing on a variety of other indicators. You can even compare your results to the results from neighbourhoods across Canada.
So break out the chopped veggies, shelve the potato chips and if you’re in the U.S., binge-watch House of Cards knowing how much it will cost you.