Congress is considering a bill, backed by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), that would prevent Internet providers from speeding up or slowing down some Web sites over others.
In other words, it will reclassify high-speed Internet service as a telecommunications service, instead of an information service, under Title II of the Communications Act, according to industry analysts, lobbyists and former F.C.C. staff members.
Net neutrality or an open Internet has been a constant dispute among governmental parties and this move is sure to unleash yet another round of intense debate and lobbying. Debates over the proposal have already begun in Washington.
This legislation is an attempt at achieving net neutrality and is being offered as a compromise with President Obama, who in November, asked for strong protections against Internet providers that want to prioritize certain Web traffic.
Obama has made it clear he wants the F.C.C. to adopt the strongest possible rules on net neutrality. His rationale: For most Americans, the Internet has become an essential part of everyday communication and everyday life.
Congressional Republicans have proposed net neutrality legislation that bans content blocking and fast and slow lanes, but also prevents the F.C.C. from issuing regulations to achieve those goals.
Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission has other plans. He is widely expected to propose regulating Internet service as if it were a public utility, rather than neutral Internet for everyone.
Wheeler had initially proposed net neutrality rules that would not have classified Internet service providers as common carriers, and would have allowed the cable and telecommunications companies to strike deals with content companies and online services as long as they were commercially reasonable.
This could be dangerous because it would open the door to fast lanes on the Internet for deep-pocketed companies and slow lanes for everyone else.
Industries responded differently but predictably. The Internet Association, whose members include Amazon, Facebook, Google and Netflix, applauded Mr. Obama and urged the F.C.C. to follow his lead to ensure a free and open Internet.
The major Internet service providers, like Comcast and AT&T, protested and said utility-style regulation would threaten their investment in faster broadband service, ultimately harming consumers.
So how will this affect the normal user? How will it affect you? Well depends. Do you watch Netflix a lot? How smoothly a Netflix video stream of House of Cards plays on a subscribers screen, for example, reflects the performance of all the network operators that have transported the digital bits of that hit program.
The proposal is expected to be submitted to the agencys commissioners by Thursday. The F.C.C. has not announced that they will release a copy of the plan this week but the contents are almost certain to leak out. A vote on the proposal by the full commission is scheduled for Feb. 26.