I’ve written about net neutrality on this blog before. It’s an important issue for REALTORS®, because new rules being proposed by the FCC could make it much more difficult—and more expensive—for us to reach homebuyers and sellers online.
Understanding the concept of net neutrality is a good place to start. This video breaks it down pretty well:
Although, between the time that I drafted this post and now, this John Oliver clip seems to have become the go to video for understanding net neutrality.
Now imagine that deep-pocketed real estate sites like Zillow and Trulia (perhaps soon to be a single entity) jump on that “pay-to-play” Internet bandwagon. And maybe a couple of the big national real estate franchises, as well. How hard would that make it for independent agents to drive traffic to their own websites and online content? What would it mean if the only way to quickly and reliably reach the homebuyers and sellers you want to online was through Zillow? Or Trulia? Or the next big real estate aggregator?
Of course, it’s easy to write this whole thing off as an issue related only to the big streaming/media services like Netflix and Google (and hey, we all want our Netflix movies and YouTube videos to stream quickly and smoothly). But even Netflix and Google have come out against this latest proposal from the FCC. Mozilla, maker of the popular Firefox web browser, has joined the call protecting net neutrality. And other real estate professionals are taking notice of the FCC’s proposal, as well.
So what can you do? The important thing is to tell the FCC that you want Internet Service Providers (ISPs like Comcast, Time-Warner Cable, Brighthouse, etc.) classified as telecom carriers under Title II of the Communications Act. That means ISPs would be treated like the old telephone companies, where “discrimination in charges, practices, classifications, regulations, facilities, or services for or in connection with like communication service” would be prohibited.
And that would mean, ideally, the preservation of the level playing field we’ve come to know on the Internet. The same level playing field that has allowed for the rise of innovative services like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others.
How you can help:
Join the Battle for Net Neutrality
Participate in the Internet Slowdown
Send a comment to the FCC (Proceeding 14-28)