Today's vocabulary words: Net neutrality.

What is it? In a nutshell, the idea that all legal content on the Internet should be treated equally.

It's a big topic today because the Federal Communications Commission is considering rules for how the Internet operates. And the first proposal of the roles, with "fast lanes" for content providers willing to pay,  caused such a stir among advocates for an open Internet that the FCC Chairman said he'd try again.

Mashable has a nice explanatory story about net neutrality and the debate:

"Internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast or Verizon control how you access websites and content. Let's use an old-school metaphor: the information superhighway. Think of ISPs as the freeway on which your content travels from a website to your home.

An Internet governed by net neutrality would bar ISPs from creating special toll lanes for fat cats. Everyone would have the same speed limit."

Minnesota Senator Al Franken has been a net neutrality advocate, sharing some of his thoughts in this YouTube video:

The New York Times explains the rule-making procces, noting that the FCC won't take any final action today. Instead, commissioners could vote to release a draft of the Internet governance rules for public comment.

If you want to watch the sausage making, here's a bunch of meeting info and a link to the FCC webcast.

(Photo above by Associated Press.)