FCC Renews Consumer Advisory Committee

By Renee Dopplick, ACM Director of Public Policy
June 15, 2015

The renewed FCC Consumer Advisory Committee held its first public meeting on June 12. The Committee is comprised of 37 appointed representatives from industry, academia, consumer organizations, disability organizations, and regulatory agencies. FCC Chairman Wheeler reappointed Debra Berlyn, representing the National Consumers League, as the Chair.

Its mandate is to provide guidance to the FCC on consumer protection issues and to facilitate the participation of consumers in FCC proceedings. The Committee also provides consumer perspectives to the FCC on the impact of new and emerging communication technologies.

The Committee’s first task is to develop a proposed format for net neutrality disclosures to consumers, as called for in the FCC’s Open Internet Order. The disclosures are intended to help consumers know the price and performance of their Internet connections and to easily compare services across broadband providers. The Committee might consider different disclosure formats for fixed and mobile broadband service providers. The digital format must be accessible to persons with disabilities. The Committee will be taking input from a broad range of stakeholders and is required to deliver the proposed format for disclosures by October 31.

Consumer privacy protections also will be a key focus area. At its first meeting, the Committee heard about the work of the FCC Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, including its recent public workshop on broadband consumer privacy. Participants of that workshop discussed whether and to what extent the FCC can apply a harmonized privacy framework to the variety of services within its jurisdiction.