In between Facebook posts, tweets, and Snapchat photos this week, the Internet changed dramatically for millions of regular users.

On Tuesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled the Federal Communications Commission overstepped the bounds of its authority when it imposed Open Internet rules in 2010, commonly known as net neutrality (Verizon v. FCC).

Net what? Before eyes begin to glaze over thinking we are going to venture into technical-speak or have wandered down the road of tennis terms, net neutrality is really important to those who use the Internet for business, education, or entertainment. At its most basic definition, the FCC Open Internet rules that were just struck down made Internet Service Providers (ISP) treat all data exactly the same.

That definition seems pretty straight forward on its surface but how does the ruling affect Americans? Let’s examine an extreme case without net neutrality regulations in place. Comcast owns 32% of the online streaming company Hulu. After the ruling, Comcast can now decide to send all Hulu data streaming faster to its customers than one of its competitors like Net Flix. That would, of course, encourage customers who use Comcast as their ISP to only use Hulu subscription services and drop all others, greatly increasing revenue for the cable company. This instance could also work for other cable companies who accept payments from companies like Apple or Net Flix to move their data to the front of the electronic highway.

If you think that is too nefarious a scene to be real, look at this example instead. Suppose that two companies - one a large multinational corporation with thousands of employees and the other a small 100-employee firm - are competing in the same marketplace for the same contracts. Their businesses rely on the fast transfer of data. Without net neutrality, the large company could afford to pay higher fees for faster service, the types of dollars that could put the smaller company out of business.

It gets worse when the possibilities are reduced to the individual level. Now, ISPs can go to individual Internet users, people like you and your neighbors, and handout a new schedule of fees. You could pay exactly what you are paying now but, your Internet speed may slow during peak hours or large downloads - like movies - may not be possible. However, if you move up to the next level of service, for only a little more each month your data transmission speed will be guaranteed to stay at a certain level. Want lightning fast service? Pay even more for the premium level. For users who could not afford it, higher fees could be devastating to those taking online classes or trying to work from their homes.

This is certainly a problem that has only come to light in the past few years as technology has increased and laws written 20, 30, and maybe even 50 years ago struggle to keep up. Warning signs first started appearing under the Bush administration but nothing was done and under the Obama administration Washington D.C. has continued to turn a blind eye to restrictions that could seriously restrict Internet access. Perhaps the biggest problem is that the FCC has now had a series of directors under administrations from both sides of the aisle who have not been willing to fight the political battle against lobbyists to reclassify ISPs as a “common carrier,” a designation that would force the companies to provide net neutrality standards without new regulations.

And don’t think those new fees will not be traveling to smartphone services as well. Notice it was Verizon who sued the FCC.

The way the situation stands right now about the only thing that is certain is everyone’s Internet access is about to become more expensive.