This bill would direct the FCC to ban Internet providers from speeding up some content (like online videos) at the expense of others (like e-mail). This is known as a "two-tiered" system that allows internet providers — like Comcast and Verizon — to charge companies to offer their content to internet users more quickly, i.e. in the fast lane. If you can't pay, you and your content ends up in the slow lane.
If you're having trouble visualizing this, take Netflix for example. As a huge company, they could afford to pay a premium to stream your favorite shows faster. A smaller online video service might not have the funds to pay the "fast lane" rate, and would end up offering it's consumers a much slower streaming experience. This is a direct threat to net neutrality. What is net neutrality? As John Oliver, TV personality and comedian explains:
"Essentially it means that all data has to be treated equally, no matter who created it. It's why the internet is a weirdly leveled playing field."The bill doesn't offer the FCC new powers, but the bill — known as the Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act — would offer the commission the authority to create regulations that prohibit broadband providers from:
- Signing an agreement with an internet company or online creator of content/applications/services/access devices offering preferential treatment or a promise of priority to online traffic.
- Offering preferential treatment or priority to content, applications, services, or devices that are created or operated by those broadband providers and their affiliates.