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Broadband firms must publish all the fees and specifics of their internet plans

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Starting this week, big broadband companies like Verizon and Comcast are required to publish labels describing all the fees and specifics of their internet plans. It's like a nutrition label but for your internet connection. NPR's Alina Selyukh reports.

ALINA SELYUKH, BYLINE: You know the exciting surprise when you get an introductory offer to hook up your phone or house to high-speed internet, and then the price expires and jumps, or you discover you're paying a whole new fee for renting a modem? Well, federal regulators have long been trying to rein this in. And here's President Biden now taking a victory lap.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: My administration is taking a major step toward eliminating junk fees on internet bills.

SELYUKH: The major step is this new label requirement. It's a chart that looks very similar to the nutrition facts on the back of a soup can, except instead of sodium and calories, it's download speeds and early termination fees. The idea is to have a universal way that internet providers have to show all the details of your broadband contract so that consumers can compare plans apples to apples or, I guess, speeds and fees to speeds and fees. Experts at the Federal Communications Commission have been working on this for almost a decade. Both the president and Congress have called for consumer friendly labels. This week, the label requirement formally goes into effect for big providers, and smaller providers have until October to bring any hidden fees into the light.

Alina Selyukh, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIBI TANGA AND THE SELENITES' "AFRO GROOVE ON THE MOVE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Alina Selyukh is a business correspondent at NPR, where she follows the path of the retail and tech industries, tracking how America's biggest companies are influencing the way we spend our time, money, and energy.