Who wins—and who loses—on net neutrality rules

What net neutrality means for companies, consumers
What net neutrality means for companies, consumers   

The Federal Communications Commission passed new rules Thursday that reclassified the Internet as a public utility, and there's a clear list of winners and losers.

The new rules allow the FCC to regulate Internet service providers the same way they regulate telecom companies and prevent them from creating "slow and fast lanes" for web traffic.

Allowing internet providers to charge more for faster service would benefit the likes of Time Warner Cable and Comcast, but potentially hurt streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon.com as well as social networks like Facebook and Tumblr.

A demonstrator holds a sign in support of net neutrality outside the Federal Communications Commission headquarters in Washington, May 14, 2014.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A demonstrator holds a sign in support of net neutrality outside the Federal Communications Commission headquarters in Washington, May 14, 2014.

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Net neutrality, the argument against fast and slow lanes, would allow all web sites and streaming services, and their consumers, to have equal access to the internet, as they currently do.

As part of the new net neutrality rules, broadband would be reclassified as a utility, making it equally accessible to small businesses and entrepreneurs. But internet service providers against net neutrality say that the regulations stifle innovation and take away an incentive to improve broadband services.

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"Net neutrality only bans the idea of slow lanes and fast lanes, which is an incremental amount of revenue," Columbia Law School Professor Tim Wu, who coined the term "net neutrality," told CNBC on Thursday. "And yes, so on the margin, there's a tiny bit of revenue that might be lost but the main income just comes from the regular business model."

Disclosure: An opponent to the new net neutrality rules, Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC and CNBC.com.