US watchdog to enforce advertised broadband quality

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US watchdog to enforce advertised broadband quality

On pain of pecuniary penalties.

The Federal Communications Commission of the United States has issued a notice to internet providers to warn them they must be accurate in the information they give customers about their services.

In 2011, the US communications regulator introduced the Open Internet Transparency Rule (OITR) which aims to help consumers to make informed decisions on broadband purchases.

Today, the watchdog said it would enforce the rule, and warned providers that breaches could result in penalties ranging from US$16,000 to US$1.5 million (A$16,900 to A$1.6 million) depending on the seriousness of the violation.

“The FCC’s transparency rule requires that consumers get the information they need to make informed choices about the broadband services they purchase. 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.”

- FCC chairman Tom Wheeler.

Under the OITR, providers must tell customers of their network management practices as well as the expected performance, along with the commercial terms of the service.

This includes any changes the providers make after customers have signed up for fixed wire or wireless broadband.

Customers who feel that they're not getting the service that they were promised can file a complaint with the FCC on a new website set up for that purpose.

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