THIS IS SET TO HAPPEN THIS WEDNESDAY
Pretty much the summary of this whole situation is that for the longest time the US government worked to keep the internet neutral - no US company held control over what content could be loaded through their services. However, there has apperantly been a long compaign by the likes of AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and several other companies to make it so THEY decided what happens on their services.
Though valiant efforts have been made by many good natured people (including STRONG efforts by google) right now the majority is leading towards giving up internet neutrality - allowing internet service providers the ability to control how, what, where, and when you access content. Including how fast you can access it.
Heres a breakdown of the likely things to happen, judging by these companies services:
Differant lines on the internet. You buy a broadband connection, but only certain websites will load at broadband speeds (ie, associates of said provider company). Everything else will load at 28k speed. You can, however, not only pay for a broadband service BUT you can add an additional fee for expanded high speed access, and then pay even MORE for unhindered broadband speed.
Service providers will intentionally block out certain web stores. For instance lets imagine comcast has a deal with Amazon.com. Comcast will block EVERYONE from ever getting at a barnes and nobles website - but amazon.com for some reason loads at breakneck speed! This has ALREADY OCCURED before - AT&T and AOL both have done things similar to this.
Many free services bite the dust. You attempt to log into gmail.com but get auto-redirected to your ISP's webpage saying that you can buy, for 9.99, an email. You can even send 100 emails in a month! Wow! For 19.99 you can get 300 emails!
Bittorrent, warez, crackz, illegal MP3's - all gone. Instead you can easily purchase your songs (etc) via an itunes like service offered by your ISP!!!!!!111!1
The ability to share media (audio, visual, even textual) becomes far more expensive/complicated. Things like blogs wont be accesable unless you pay for it through your ISP. This is a very BIG deal - free speech is no longer free on the web. Its more like purchased speech. E-journalism becomes very difficult and alot of news/opinion sources become narrowed down to the ones your ISP feel comfortable with showing.
VERY VERY LIKELY:
Anything one ISP does business with will not be accesable by another. One example of this is that you have AOL, theres no way in heck you are accessable comcast.com, verizon.com, etc... heres whats very bad. Say Pizza hut signs a deal with verizon so that every verizon user can access pizzahut.com with full broadband speed - every other pizza service will be super slow. AOL will not have access to pizzahut.com. Instead it will only allow its users to access dominos.com because they have an exclusive deal. Goods and services you use via the internet are now decided by your ISP because your ISP has signed deals with big business in order to boost their sales. Its already done to a degree as we speak via phone services.
I won't even go into how google.com will be obliterated because someone like yahoo.com signs a deal, and google (not signing a deal with anyone) loads on every isp at 28k speed.
I wont even go into how this screws over small business because they can't afford to sign deals at the price big business can (exclusive web store contracts anyone? no one else can load their webstores at full broadband speed...)
I wont even go into how this effects charitable organizations on the web.
I wont even go into how this could easily lead into world media being put further in control of the corporations.
Its bad news - contact your local congressman. Protect the intraweb.