One day before the FCC is set to put its sweeping repeal of net neutrality protections to a vote, the CEO of the Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch has spoken out against the potential repeal, noting how vital the open internet has been to the livelihood of Twitch and its users.
The company has now shared a blog post to explain exactly how critical net neutrality is to the prosperity of the company as well as the streamers and devs dependent on the massively popular live video platform.
The protections in risk of being repealed were first put in place in 2015 and imposed utility-like restrictions on internet service providers that prevented companies from throttling or prioritizing access to different kinds of online content.
In the post, Twitch CEO Emmett Shear argues that the streaming platform owes its past (and future) to the existence of net neutrality. Without the protections in place, ISPs would be able to slow down access to video platforms like Twitch unless users paid a premium, essentially cutting Twitch streamers off from the viewership that has been critical to both the streamers and the creators of the games being played.
”Net neutrality has played an important role in the history of Twitch. Without it, we might not be here today, and our streamers might not be here tomorrow," warns Shear. "Net neutrality prevents ISPs from abusing their position of power, such as giving priority to specific sites, slowing down access to sites that refuse to pay for a fast lane, and arbitrarily blocking sites."
"Because our streamer community — many of which are small business owners — depend on their viewers having easy access to their channels and reliable quality of service, repealing net neutrality will erode the power of the internet to enable and create these types of jobs. This is why we are lending our voice to championing a free and open internet .”
The FCC is set to vote on the 'Restoring Internet Proposal' on December 14. If passed, the 200-page proposal would eliminate all but one of the Obama-era protections and allow ISPs to potentially charge additional fees for accessing certain categories of websites, as is already the case in countries like Portugal.