Keep your hands off my internet.

Most anime fans like me get their anime on the internet. Whether it be from Crunchyroll, Netflix, or somewhere else on the web, all anime fans are connected by the internet.

Anime Midwest is coming up soon and we’ve connected with hundreds of attendees via the internet, for example.

The internet has become an essential part of everyday life, yet its neutrality — the principle that all internet traffic should be treated equally — is under constant threat. Internet neutrality ensures fair access to online content without interference or prioritization from internet service providers (ISPs). However, the growing concerns about government regulation and ISP interference paint a troubling picture of what could happen if net neutrality is not protected.

Companies like Verizon have been in the spotlight, not just for hiking prices but also for the deteriorating quality of service that consumers report. Despite higher costs, customers find themselves with slower speeds, more restrictions, and less satisfaction. This trend is symptomatic of a larger issue where ISPs feel empowered to manipulate internet traffic and prioritize their own services or those of partners who can pay the premium, squeezing out smaller players and stifling innovation.

According to Common Dreams, Verizon has been a significant spender on lobbying efforts related to net neutrality, investing over $53 million since 2010 to influence this policy area. This investment includes efforts to sway both lawmakers and the broader legal landscape regarding internet regulations.

I previously highlighted that for every $1 corporations spend on lobbying, they receive about $760 in benefits.

The call for robust net neutrality regulations is about preventing such inequalities. Without these rules, ISPs could create fast lanes for companies that can afford to pay for better connectivity, leaving startups, independent voices, and smaller websites in the digital slow lane. This could dramatically alter the internet landscape, turning an open and equitable platform into one dominated by a few large entities that control what we see, hear, and share online.

Critics often raise concerns about government overreach and the potential for excessive regulation to stifle competition and innovation. Yet, the absence of any regulation could lead to a monopolistic control of online spaces by major ISPs. The challenge lies in finding a balance where regulations protect consumer interests without burdening ISPs with excessive oversight.

As the debate continues, the importance of maintaining an open internet where all data is treated equally becomes clearer. It’s not just about accessing entertainment faster; it’s about preserving the fundamental principles of innovation and free expression. Ensuring fair access to online content, without letting large ISPs dictate the terms, is crucial for a free and democratic society.

To keep the internet open and free, advocacy and vigilance are essential. We must support policies that enforce net neutrality while being wary of any actions that could undermine this principle. The internet must remain a platform for innovation and free expression, not a commodified utility controlled by the highest bidders.


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