If you are a blogger (or if you read blogs) this issue is of paramount importance. Essentially, the cable and phone companies want the right to charge content providers a premium to guarantee prefered access. This means that the entities who pay the premium will have their sites load faster then those who don’t.
For example, imagine a world where TSN elects to pay the premium and SportsNet doesn’t. In this world, TSN’s site loads faster then SportsNet’s. No big deal, eh? Maybe. Except, I can pretty much guarantee that you, the independent blogger, will never be able to afford this fee. So say goodbye to an internet culture where anyone, anywhere, can come up with a clever idea and have it easily spread across the web. Because the web would no longer be “neutral” the large (essentially corporate) website would be better able to show videos and display content. This is a system that will strongly favour established, and wealthy, players.
The “free culture” of the web, which allows for open debate, access to virtualy unlimited information and a level playing field for creating and spreading your ideas probably wouldn’t be eliminated, but it would be curtailed. In short, the cable companies want to turn the internet into a more controlled medium, like your TV, so they can guide you to the places that make them the most money. (About your TV, it’s that box in the corner of your living room likely covered in dust – if you’ve forgotten how to use it, don’t worry, it’s like riding a bike. There’s probably something called a “remote control” under some couch pillows, once you get your thumbs on it, it will call come back to you. Just make sure you are, by chance, at the right channel at the right time, or whatever you are looking at won’t interest you…)
Don’t think Net Neutrality matters? The fact you are able to read my blog means that it does.