As it stands now, the FCC's proposal—initial public comments on it close Tuesday—would allow broadband providers to charge content companies for a so called "fast lane" of service.
However, in an effort to protect consumers and leave an even playing field, the proposal would also prohibit Internet providers from discriminating against legal Internet traffic and from blocking websites.
Read MoreWeb firms demand FCC action on net neutrality
But that isn't reassuring to advocates of a "free and open Internet" who are pushing for the Web to be regulated as a utility.
The issue, according the Internet Association, which represents 35 Internet companies, is that anything but vigilant protection of net neutrality will disadvantage Internet companies—start-ups in particular.
"Preserving the Internet's neutrality ensures that it remains an engine for economic growth, innovation, and democratic values.... Broadband Internet access providers, however, have the incentive to discriminate and block Internet traffic. They have the tools to carry this out. They also have the ability to hide their actions by distributing the blame to other stakeholders," the organization said in a 23-page document.
It's obvious why broadband-hogging services like Netflix and YouTube want net neutrality, but why is it so important for companies that do not stream large amounts of video, like Etsy, Uber or AirBNB?
In fact, smaller companies are worried that they won't be able to compete with giants like Amazon and Google, who have deep pockets and can therefore pay to have their data prioritized.
In a filing with the FCC, Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson wrote: "If the proposed rules were in place when Etsy was founded, we would never have achieved the success we have today. Etsy and other startups will suffer if the FCC allows some companies to negotiate priority or exclusive access to consumers."