Net Neutrality: Don’t Get It? Here’s What You Need to Know

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Whether you understand it or not, "net neutrality" could affect what you see on the Internet and how well it works.

Deals between your Internet provider and content providers could put some of your favorite websites in the fast lane--and bump other stuff is in the slow lane.

Let's say you subscribe to Netflix. But your Internet provider has a deal with Amazon.  Movies on Netflix might be sluggish, with low-quality pictures.  But Amazon Prime movies could be crystal clear.

It's not just movies.  Wanna catch up on the news?  If one cell phone company cuts a deal with Fox News, you might not be able to see CNN.  Another wireless company might put Fox News in the slow lane.

Wanna get a jump on your holiday shopping with a trip to Walmart online?  Not if Target's paying your cable company.  Their site would be at the full speed you expect in 2014, but Walmart would feel like a dial-up connection from 1995.

Some companies and politicians say that's all good; the free market should rule.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz calls net neutrality "Obamacare for the Internet," and says it will lead to "fewer choices, fewer opportunities and higher prices."

Opponents want the net to be open--or "neutral." They even staged an "Internet slowdown" day back in September to make their point. Now the president's on their side.

"Internet providers have a legal obligation not to block or limit your access to a website," President Obama said in a video released by the White House on Monday.

He sent regulators back to the online drawing board to come up with new rules on net neutrality.

Let's hope they get a fast connection.

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