But Web advocates are concerned that the FCC may let large, well-funded firms like Netflix and Google pay Internet service providers an extra fee for faster connectivity. Think of it as an HOV lane: The big boys would be able to use the presumably faster lane and the rest of us would have to creep along in a slower lane. (The FCC wants public input on whether this practice - called "paid prioritization" - should be banned.)
A recent report by Sandvine, which analyzes Internet trends, found that Netflix and YouTube (owned by Google) account for 43 percent of total broadband usage by North American home users.
The pipeline is already being hogged by certain businesses.
Kevin Werbach, a Wharton professor and an expert on Internet policy and telecommunications regulation, says small businesses and startups should be equally concerned about a more-competitive broadband market.
Net neutrality "gets us policing over the existing broadband providers, and we certainly need that," he said, "but what we need to do is push on every front to promote more competition. Add a little more spectrum from wireless and we should sweep aside laws in states that actually prohibit municipalities from having their own [broadband] networks."
There's no longer a monopoly in broadband, but Werbach said "it's also clear we don't have lots and lots of [broadband] providers, aggressively competing." He said that would "require all levels of government to open up markets to competition and get private-investment capital to flow to those alternatives. And we need the FCC to help with that."
And we can't just let the market sort it all out. "More competition doesn't mean we don't need new net-neutrality rules. Your broadband provider, whoever it is, still controls your traffic and you may or may not know what they're doing with it," Werbach said. "But having more competition makes it far less likely that anti-competitive behaviors will happen."
On Twitter: @MHinkelman