The Federal Communications Commission released a plan Tuesday to reverse net neutrality rules, a move that the National Association of REALTORS® is concerned will make it harder for real estate companies, multiple listing services, and property data aggregators to provide their services in a cost-effective way.
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“We are looking carefully at the FCC’s plan to reverse net neutrality, which has been an effective and proven way to ensure a level playing field for businesses that depend on a neutral online playing field,” NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall said in a statement. Small and large players in the real estate industry could be affected if internet service providers such as Comcast and Verizon create fast and slow lanes of web traffic based on financial arrangements they’ve made with content providers.
NAR is part of a coalition of business interests that support existing net neutrality rules as the most fair and competitive form of internet regulation. Current rules prohibit internet service providers from throttling or slowing web traffic to some sites while giving faster services to other sites that have entered into financial arrangements with them. The FCC is expected to vote on the plan—which was proposed by its chairman, Ajit Pai—in mid-December. Should the commission vote to reverse current rules, proponents of net neutrality are expected to sue.
NAR sent comments to the FCC in July urging it to maintain net neutrality. “NAR supports open internet rules that protect American businesses and consumers by preventing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) not only from blocking, throttling, or discriminating against internet traffic and prohibit paid prioritization arrangements, but also interconnection issues and other anti-competitive practices,” NAR said in its comments.