The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering so-called "net neutrality" rules that would determine how ISPs such as Comcast and Verizon Communications manage web traffic on their networks. (Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC and CNBC.com.)
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has proposed rules that would allow ISPs to charge content companies to ensure their websites or applications load smoothly and quickly, as long as such deals are deemed "commercially reasonable."
Critics, including popular video streaming service Netflix and numerous advocacy groups, argue the plan would threaten less deep-pocketed content providers by potentially relegating them to "slow lanes" on the web.
Instead, they call on the FCC to reclassify broadband as a telecommunication service rather than the less-regulated information service it is now, saying the move would give more power to the FCC to stop potential violators of net neutrality.
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ISPs and Republicans, both in Congress and at the FCC, have rejected the idea.
On Tuesday, 33 telecom network and tech makers, who are members of the Telecommunications Industry Association and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and who depend on ISPs for business, spoke out against the reclassification idea as well.
"A sudden shift from the existing light-touch approach—which has been an unqualified success and the basis for billions of dollars in investments—to the prescriptive regime of Title II would be extremely disruptive to the broadband marketplace," they wrote, referring to the legal authority the FCC would use to reclassify ISPs.