Net Neutrality has been something Americans have largely taken for granted. That all changed, however, when there was news of a vote and eventual repeal of it.

Net neutrality, as reported by NPR, is defined as "...a principle that internet providers should be neutral gateways that provide equal access to all legal web content." The repeal was voted on by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in December of 2017, passing in a 3-2 vote. It is a regulation introduced by President Obama in 2015 that called to "Classify ISPs [as] public utilities."

Net neutrality, simple, but so vital

As a result of net neutrality, ISPs cannot overcharge for their services.

They also cannot prevent anyone from using a certain website, or the internet in general, largely allowing the internet to become what we know it as today. So, naturally, if one feels like anything suspicious is happening with their loading speeds and such, regardless of their server, come April, now you will know why.

The repeal could affect you

There cannot be any certain way of telling. While the repeal is not certain to impact any specific individual, it is that uncertainty which has sparked much debate. ISPs can now pick and choose who sees what on the internet, if they can use the internet at all, and how much they pay to see it. The repeal gives ISPs the freedom to perform these acts, whereas they were illegal before.

Notable ISPs include Verizon, AT&T Internet, Google Fiber, among many others. So if you have the services of any of those ISPs because their plan is in your price range or otherwise financially beneficial, be on the lookout in April if the price for their services goes up without warning.

The same can be said if you suddenly cannot access your favorite website or certain information appears withheld or suppressed when doing online searches That is also due to the loss of net neutrality, as ISPs no longer have to treat all data equally.

It opens the door for ISPs to potentially fuel agendas or manipulate perception, as well as withholding information.

Many argue that the repeal promotes censorship, violating the first amendment rights of American citizens. Censorship has become a particularly contentious issue within America, as the vote comes at a time when the country's president has called certain media outlets fake news.

In addition to censorship other dangers have appeared to present themselves recently due to the fact that the NRA just awarded FCC chairman Ajit Pai the "Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award" an honor which according to the Chicago Tribune, is a recognition that "...the NRA only occasionally bestows on those who champion conservative causes despite intense criticism. Previous awardees include Vice President Mike Pence and conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh." The timing of this event can prove to be a cause for concern among Americans, as it was also reported by the Tribune that the award"...came in the same week that the NRA's leader appeared on stage at CPAC [Conservative Political Action Conference] and blasted emerging federal efforts to restrict gun sales in the wake of the deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida."

Chairman Pai has certainly stood by his decision as recently as last Friday's CPAC (Feb.

23), as evident by USA TODAY's report that, "Pai, appointed by President Trump to head the agency, largely stuck to familiar terrain during his remarks, a stance built around what he considers "light touch" regulation."

As a counter to this, all 50 Senate Democrats have made an attempt to combat the vote and bring back Net Neutrality, which has proven a struggle given how Republicans control all three major branches of government. Their best hope is to gain more seats in either the midterms or the 2020 presidential election.