The Internet as we know it may have died Tuesday -- and nobody even noticed.

Thanks to the U.S. Court of Appeals decision, Internet service providers (ISPs) can now decide which websites work faster, which ones to charge you for and even which ones to block you from.

Up until now, the Internet has basically been a free-for-all. You pay for your service and you get to do whatever you want — whether that’s watching Netflix, trading stocks or downloading music or porn or anything else — at the speed you pay for.

A Verizon Communications appeals case against the FCC over its net-neutrality or open Internet rules has just changed the entire game, and possibly not for the better.

The U.S. Court of Appeals threw out those FCC rules on how ISPs manage the delivery of their service, giving control back to those companies.

What does all of this mean for you?

Well, let’s run a worst-case scenario.

You spend most of your time streaming movies on Netflix. However, your ISP owns a service that competes with Netflix. So, it can slow down the speed at which Netflix is delivered to you (making your viewing experience horribly laggy). Or it could just block the service from you entirely.

Sounds fun, right?

What about this? Your favorite website is Huffington Post. You went there every day prior to your ISP’s new tiered-Internet packaging. You couldn’t afford the unlimited package and the more reasonably-priced basic Internet package doesn’t include access to certain premium websites like Huffington Post.

Yeah, they might be able to turn the Internet into a pay-cable system now.

We’re not saying it’s going to happen, but when was the last time you remember a corporation giving you something for free when they could just as easily make you pay through the nose for it?

There is still a glimmer of hope, though.

A policy like the FCC’s now-debunked one is not completely dead.

The federal policy just need to get reworked and put into place.

-- Tree Riddle, Banana 101.5 FM, Flint

Source: Banana 101.5 FM, Flint