FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler issued a statement to remind Internet Service Providers that they must remain clear about anything that impacts a consumer’s broadband experience. Any ISP that defies the transparency order is subject to censure and fines from the FCC. Wheeler did not direct the message at any specific provider, but claimed that the FCC has recently received numerous complaints. The agency did not make any comments about ongoing investigations.
“Presumably this also includes notifying them if they can’t stream Netflix because the network is congested, letting them know if their data caps are not accurate and making sure their terms of service are intelligible,” reports GigaOM.
Regardless of net neutrality, the transparency rule will remain in place as it was not struck down by courts as a part of the 2010 Open Internet Order.
“We’ve received hundreds of complaints in the last year where consumers are concerned that they are left in the dark in terms of what they are receiving, so this is a reminder to ISPs to disclose all of the aspects of the services they provide,” explained Wheeler.
“Of course, in many areas of the country, even if an ISP were to stand up and say, ‘I am blocking Netflix and my data cap measurements are a bit off,’ consumers don’t have much choice in switching providers,” adds GigaOM.
“The FCC’s transparency rule requires that consumers get the information they need to make informed choices about the broadband services they purchase,” wrote Wheeler. “We expect providers to be fully transparent about the details of their services, and we will hold them accountable if they fall down on this obligation to consumers.”