Net neutrality will bring more choice: Advocate

Net neutrality provides even playing field: Pro
Net neutrality provides even playing field: Pro

Investors were stunned on Monday after President Barack Obama pushed for stronger regulation of the Internet.

While cable stocks plummeted on the news, net neutrality advocates applauded the president's move.

"These are the exact kind of protections that Internet users everywhere need that are going to benefit not just a couple of big Internet service providers but the whole Internet and the whole Internet economy," Craig Aaron, CEO of Free Press, said in an interview with CNBC's "Closing Bell."

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Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler speaks during a news conference after an open meeting to receive public comment on proposed open Internet notice of proposed rulemaking and spectrum auctions May 15, 2014 at the FCC headquarters in Washington, DC.
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In his statement, the president called on the Federal Communications Commission to create a new set of rules "protecting neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online."

The FCC is nearing a decision on how far to go to protect Internet consumers from backroom deals. President Obama's statement suggests the White House is more aligned with those constituents who want the FCC to reclassify the Internet as a public utility under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act to ensure it has enough power to regulate the Internet effectively.

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The industry quickly responded.

"We are stunned the president would abandon the longstanding, bipartisan policy of lightly regulating the Internet and calling for extreme" regulation, said Michael Powell, president and CEO of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the primary lobbying arm of the cable industry.

Aaron believes stronger regulation will only benefit the consumer.

"They want to be in control of their own user experience. They don't want Comcast or Verizon or AT&T picking and choosing what websites are going to work or won't," he said.

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On top of that, he argued, it will create more choice and competition.

But don't count the big cable companies out, Aaron said, because they are very profitable.

In fact, with shares down, it is "probably a good time to buy, because they are in a very lucrative business for the long term," he said. "And in the long term we are much better off having a more competitive environment online absolutely more choice to get online."

—The Associated Press contributed to this report

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of CNBC.