If you listen to talk radio, watch TV news or read the news on the Internet to keep up with technology and court rulings at all – you've probably been hearing the term "Net Neutrality" quite a bit.
If you’re a REALTOR®, this could have a profound effect on your real estate marketing online efforts, which could mean a significant change in your marketing strategies.
What is Net Neutrality?
If this is the first time you've heard it, here’s what it is. Simply put, Net Neutrality is the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally. In April, the Federal Communications Commission ruled that it will permit an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to offer content providers a faster track to send content. This reversed the FCC’s earlier position. Then in May, the FCC voted to consider allowing fast and slow lanes on the Internet.
FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, defended his plan that would ban ISPs from blocking or slowing down websites. That sounds like he's all for the concept of Net Neutrality, right?
Not so fast. The FCC plan would allow providers to strike deals with content companies for preferential treatment, such as faster speeds. A deal was recently struck whereby Netflix agreed to pay Comcast to ensure that its movies and TV shows stream more quickly. Although this deal has been in the negotiation stages for months, it highlights exactly what is wrong with the FCC ruling.
What does this mean for REALTORS®?
REALTORS® will probably not be that directly affected by Net Neutrality rulings on a day-to-day basis. However, if you rely heavily on online channels to spread your real estate marketing messages, you might want to pay closer attention to Net Neutrality. If there becomes a “fast lane” and “slow lane” for web traffic, you may face increased costs for web hosting to make sure your clients can find you online in a timely manner.
What can you do?
If you’re concerned about the Net Neutrality ruling, take heart. The FCC will take public comments for 60 days from the date of their vote on the proposal. Then, they will have another 60 days to take those comments into consideration. Make your voice heard by leaving a comment about Net Neutrality on the FCC comment page.