NAR Applauds Introduction of Net Neutrality Bill
Real Estate In-Depth | July 2018
WASHINGTON—The National Association of Realtors has commended US Rep. Mike Coffman for his introduction of the 21st Century Internet Act. Rep. Coffman’s bill comes in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s 2017 decision to dismantle net neutrality regulations, with the legislation ensuring that Internet Service Providers, or ISPs, cannot block or throttle online content or services.
In November 2017, the FCC, under chairman Ajit Pai, released a plan to dismantle landmark regulations that ensure equal access to the Internet, clearing the way for Internet service companies to charge users more to see certain content and to curb access to some websites. Realtors® were vocal opponents of rules proposed by the FCC to create a two-tiered Internet by allowing ISPs to charge companies a premium to boost website download speeds. Virtual net neutral practices are essential to ensuring that real estate content may be freely and efficiently distributed online, particularly as the marketing of real estate is increasingly conducted online through streaming video and other services.
The new legislation secures into law the “four corners of net neutrality,” focusing on providing consumer protection for those accessing and doing business online. The bill also requires ISPs to publicly disclose management practices, prohibits ISPs from engaging in unfair or deceptive acts, and ensures that both broadband equipment and services are accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.
National Association of Realtors President Elizabeth Mendenhall, a sixth-generation Realtor from Columbia, MI and CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty, issued the following statement in support of the 21st Century Internet Act:
“Nearly all of America’s 1.3 million Realtors® depend on open access to affordable, high-quality Internet service to adequately serve clients, market properties and conduct business. Rep. Mike Coffman’s 21st Century Internet Act is a much-needed response to the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality regulations and preserve equal, unencumbered Internet access for small businesses and consumers across the country.”
She added, “NAR applauds the Congressman for his work on this legislation and pledges to continue working with Congress and the FCC to protect our members’ ability to freely share lawful content on the Internet.”
Realtor Iona Harrison, past president of the Maryland Association of Realtors, also commended Rep. Coffman and the legislation while speaking at a press conference with the congressman at a press conference on July 17 in Washington, D.C.
“When we talk about the future of net neutrality, what we’re really talking about is the future of the Internet and the future of commerce in this country,” Harrison said. “Make no mistake, this is a Main Street issue. Representative Coffman’s 21st Century Internet Act will protect both consumers and small businesses, and on behalf of my colleagues across the country, I want to thank him for introducing this much-needed legislation.”