This graf in today's Wall Street Journal article about a potential Google/Verizon deal jumped out at me:
Broadband providers say they need to be able to manage their networks so that all customers get the best possible experience, which might involve slowing some traffic, such as email, so other more timely traffic, such as phone calls, can get through.
When the email you're waiting for is a contract that has to be signed by 5 pm, and the phone call you're most likely to receive is a telemarketer trying to sell you something you don't want, I'd say the email is considerably more "timely" traffic than the phone call, wouldn't you? Conversely, when the phone call you're waiting for is your doctor's office calling with test results, that's a little more "timely" than some spam email trying to sell you a year's supply of Viagra.
Point being: Broadband providers have no idea what my most timely traffic is, or yours. Sometimes it's an email, sometimes a phone call, or an IM, or a web page. Sometimes it's traffic I'm initiating (downloading a file) sometimes it's traffic I'm a passive recipient of (a phone call.) Broadband providers don't know which is more "timely." Users often don't know.
Privileging types of traffic doesn't privilege timely traffic at the expense of less timely traffic, it privileges certain users at the expense of other users. (In the example above, it privileges phone users over email users. And, thus, phone providers over email providers.)