On its website, the FCC sings the virtues of the Open Internet:
This is the type of open, competition-friendly Internet protected by the FCC's 2010 Open Internet Order, a package of regulations that makes it illegal for Internet service providers (ISPs) to create Internet fast lanes for Web companies willing to pay a hefty toll.
A January 2014 court decision struck down portions of the Open Internet Order that blocked ISPs from creating these high-speed Internet toll roads [source: Ammori]. In response to the ruling, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler promised that his agency would continue to protect consumers and promote competition [source: Wheeler]. Net neutrality advocates were surprised and angry, therefore, when Wheeler — a former chief lobbyist for the telecommunications industry — released a set of proposed rules in April that allowed for the creation of paid fast lanes [sources: Cassidy and van Schewick].
If the FCC allows ISPs to give preferential treatment to high-paying clients, it could create a seriously uneven playing field in which small startups are relegated to the slow lane while wealthy corporations cruise along at light speed.