- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) just voted to reverse net-neutrality regulations adopted in 2015.
- Net neutrality means internet service providers (ISPs) cannot block, slow, or provide preferential treatment to particular sites and services.
- The new rule -- the Restoring Internet Freedom order -- would allow ISPs to impose fees on customers who want to access rival sites.
Your home internet bill will likely get more expensive soon.
"Net neutrality is the principal that internet service providers should, in general, treat all data sent over the network the same, no matter whether it's an email, an emoji sent over a chat service, a phone call, a political rant live-streamed by a college student from her parents' basement, or the latest show on Netflix," Business Insider's Steve Kovach explained.
Pai's proposal, named the Restoring Internet Freedom order, would enable internet service providers (ISPs), like Comcast, AT&T, Spectrum, and Verizon, to favor their own sites and services and charge customers fees to access -- or at the very least, quickly load -- rival sites.
In other words, you would no longer be able to access every website on the internet under your current, monthly fee.
"If you're a Comcast customer, you may have to pay extra to be able to stream video from Netflix or Amazon, rather than from NBC or Hulu, which Comcast part-owns. If you're a Verizon customer, you may get charged extra to access Google's news or finance sites rather than Yahoo's," Kovach wrote.
Ultimately, the new order would reclassify ISPs as "information services" instead of "public utilities," giving the FCC less regulatory authority in the industry. So all this can happen as long as the ISPs, or telecommunications companies, disclose their practices to customers, businesses, and the FCC.
But it's not only customers who would be paying more. Companies may also be charged a toll by ISPs in order to make their content available to us.
Big tech companies like Google, Netflix, and Spotify wouldn't be happy about the tolls, but they'll pay them because they can afford it. Smaller startups, on the other hand, would likely have a harder time paying. That's one major argument lobbed by net neutrality supporters: repealing the rules would kill innovation and favor the current behemoths.
"If every new company has to pay to play, you're sucking dollars away from innovation and using them to line ISP pockets," Nilay Patel, the Editor-in-Chief of Verge, wrote in an article earlier this year.
Not to mention, assuming smaller companies simply cannot afford these tolls, competition would thin out and we'd be left with less to choose from, both content-wise and cost-wise.
The dollar figure ISPs likely plan to impose in fees and tolls remains to be seen, but if the FCC repeals net neutrality, you can bet your internet bill will increase if you want to keep watching "Stranger Things" on Netflix or listening to the latest hits on Spotify.
This post originally appeared on Business Insider.