Cable companies’ shares fall over FCC internet plan

Time Warner Cable falls 8 per cent, Cablevision 10 per cent and Comcast nearly 5 per cent.

Plans by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate broadband internet lines caused shares of major cable operators to fall on Thursday.

The regulations propose "net neutrality" which will require internet providers and cable companies to give equal treatment to all traffic on the web, and not slow down or restrict access to some websites.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said the rules governing internet access will be a partial extension of existing regulations for telephone networks.

While consumer groups have welcomed the move, cable companies say the new regulations will limit their ability to manage pricing and reduce their returns on investment. However, internet firms such as Google are favouring the ruling.