The Federal Communications Commission passed its repeal of net neutrality regulations, which prevents internet service companies to charge users more to see certain content.
the FCC released a plan to repeal the regulations in late November. The repeal will change rules set by the Obama administration, and some argue would harm small companies.
Real estate experts such as Zillow instantly stood against the plan, saying the proposed changes to net neutrality could create an unlevel playing field for small business owners.
The FCC’s proposed changes to Net Neutrality would create an unlevel playing field for consumers and small business owners, including many of our real estate partners. An open internet empowers consumers with information, helps small businesses grow and spurs innovation. https://t.co/jrQ9bEkOWq— Zillow Group (@ZillowGroup) November 22, 2017
Now, the FCC officially passed its repeal of the act, and Realtors are standing up against the decision.
“The internet as we know it today is a fair and open platform that puts everyone on a level playing field,” said Elizabeth Mendenhall, National Association of Realtors president. “FCC’s rollback of the Open Internet Order will mean higher costs and slower service for millions of American consumers and businesses. Realtors have strong concerns about what that might mean for the way consumers search for homes online and real estate is transacted.”
The FCC’s Open Internet Order went into effect in 2015. The rule required that broadband networks remain free of restrictions on content and platforms, while treating all content that flows through the network equally. What that means is internet service providers aren’t allowed to block, throttle or discriminate against internet traffic, such as streaming video or drone photography, among other applications.
NAR explained small businesses that either can’t pay the new fee or can’t negotiate an arrangement for themselves will face a significant competitive disadvantage, losing customers to faster websites, pointing out that the majority of Realtors operate small businesses.
“The last thing small businesses need today is additional costs and competitive disadvantages that put them on the defensive,” Mendenhall said. “This isn’t just an issue for Silicon Valley or large telecommunications shops. This is a main street concern that affects businesses and consumers across the country. We intend to make our voice heard on this important issue.”
However, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Financial Services Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said the fight is not over yet.
Other members of Congress also stood up against the FCC’s action. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., said Congress must act to reverse this decision.
Today's @FCC vote rolling back #NetNeutrality represents bowing to corporate interests, which seems to be emblematic of the Trump administration. ISPs want to control who can access what content on the internet when, and at what speeds. Congress must act to reverse this decision. pic.twitter.com/UZCx4eZUnE— Senator Ben Cardin (@SenatorCardin) December 14, 2017
But with the House and Senate both controlled by Republicans, Democrats may not get far in their attempt to block the FCC decision.
Click here to see what some of the internet’s biggest players had to say about today’s vote.