Disclaimer: I do not know all the details of this situation but from what I do know, I do not like it!
According to a New York Times article entitled "Senate Bill to Address Fears of Blocked Access to the Net" (and other articles I have skimmed elsewhere), network operators have gotten this brilliant idea of "charging companies for faster delivery of their content to consumers or favoring some content providers over others". This would not only "harm websites that are unwilling to pay for faster delivery" but also internet users who may want access to certain sites that are unwilling or uable to pay the premium.
The article keeps talking about "companies" and mentioning big names like Google, Amazon, and Time Warner companies. What about all the non-profits that have great websites out there? Good, reliable, research-worthy websites? What are they supposed to do? Will allowing other companies to pay for faster delivery have a detrimental affect on those high quality, non-commercial websites out there? Maybe I'm missing something here, but my response to that question would be, heck yeah it will! So many non-profits can barely afford to continuing providing their great services (see K. G. Schneider's post on the Librarians' Internet Index's financial difficulties for only one of many examples), let alone try to pay for their content to be delivered more quickly.
If you speed up the delivery of sites by companies willing to pay for the service, will that consequently slow down the other sites? Or will faster delivery of some sites just make other sites seem way too slow, regardless of the fact that they are not loading any slower than they used to? Given the fact that many of us were raised on dial-up, and since switching to broadband cannot even fathom waiting as long as we used to for websites to load, I would say that even if it doesn't slow the other sites down, it sure will seem that way.
So here's hoping the Internet Non-Discrimination Act of 2006 gets passed!
An Aside: For those of you who don't know about the Librarians' Internet Index, it's this great site that serves as a portal to tons of internet sites that have been reviewed by librarians for reliability and validity. Definitely a good place for trustworthy information. You can either search it or browse by category. Check it out! :)