FCC votes to impose net neutrality in historic ruling on Internet regulation

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NEW YORK (PIX11/CNNMoney) — The FCC voted Thursday to impose sweeping new net neutrality rules in a historic vote following a long political battle over Internet ownership.

The new rules would establish a concept called “net neutrality.” It’s like equal opportunity for Internet speeds and access to websites, the government will consider it a utility like other services.

In principle, net neutrality would mean the owner of a network — like Comcast or Time Warner Cable — couldn’t discriminate what runs on their cables. For example, they wouldn’t be able to unfairly make fast or slow lanes that give preferential treatment to content providers, such as Netflix or Hulu. A phone company like Verizon couldn’t block apps like Google Wallet on your smartphone, like it did in 2011.

“I commend the FCC for voting in favor of net neutrality today, and heeding the calls of many to enact bold new rules that safeguard a free and open Internet for all,” said Mayor de Blasio.  “Access to fast, affordable broadband should not be restricted, with some consumers relegated to slower lanes than others. In today’s Information Age, service providers should not be gatekeeping our Internet access simply because they are able to pay more for it.”

Some are questioning if we need the extra rules, however, or if they are needless regulations that will hurt businesses.   Others, such as Mavericks owner and tech billionaire Mark Cuban wonder if net neutrality will end up equating to a game of whac-a-mole.

Citing the change in Tom Wheeler’s position, Cuban told CNBC, “Does anyone really think that it’s going to be different for future chairmen, with future presidents, whith a future makeup of the FCC?  There’s going to be a whac-a-mole environment going forward on our Internet.”

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