Google and Verizon are nearing an agreement that could allow Verizon to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content's creators are willing to pay for the privilege. The Times is reporting that "The charges could be paid by companies, like YouTube, owned by Google, for example, to Verizon, one of the nation's leading Internet service providers, to ensure that its content received priority as it made its way to consumers. The agreement could eventually lead to higher charges for Internet users."
[The potential Google-Verizon agreement] could overthrow a once-sacred tenet of Internet policy "net neutrality," in which no form of content is favored over another. In its place, consumers could soon see a new, tiered system, which, like cable television, imposes higher costs for premium levels of service. The FCC and large internet companies want to ensure that online content isn't selectively discriminated against ("throttled") while ISPs want unregulated freedom to manage their networks.