The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted to regulate the Internet as a public utility, a major win for the "net neutrality" advocates -- including higher education groups -- that lobbied the agency to ban paid traffic prioritization on the Internet. In a separate vote, the F.C.C. also overturned laws that banned municipal broadband providers from expanding their coverage. Such laws, which are on the books in 19 states, have prevented cities from building their own networks to compete with those of private companies. Both decisions, which passed along party lines, 3 to 2, are likely to be challenged in court.
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