It may be the end of the Internet as we know it.
That was the reaction from consumer advocates and some websites after the Federal Communications Commission announced new rules governing Internet service on Thursday. The rules effectively put an end to net neutrality, or the idea that all web traffic should be treated equally.
"Definitely, consumers are the losers," said Todd O'Boyle, a program director at Common Cause, a left-leaning public interest lobbying group. "The sites they rely on on a daily basis may not work in a way they've come to rely on."
The FCC insists, however, that the new rules would not harm Internet users. In a blog post Thursday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said there had been “a great deal of misinformation” about the proposal, which he said would not permit “behavior harmful to consumers or competition by limiting the openness of the Internet.”
Here are some key points to understand regarding the changes: