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The ESA has joined the fight to save net neutrality

The ESA has joined the fight to save net neutrality

April 6, 2018 | By Chris Kerr

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has entered the battle to save net neutrality, and has applied to join a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

As reported by The Hill, the ESA has filed a motion for leave to intervene in support of those petitioning for a review of the FCC's recent repeal order, which will signal the end of net neutrality on April 23. 

Right now, net neutrally ensures internet provides can't block or cordon off content behind paywalls, granting consumers the same level of access across the board - and if those protections are wiped away, it won't just be consumers who suffer.

Developers will also take the brunt, with back-end services, cloud-development tools, and online games all in the firing line. Those who publish their titles through the likes of Steam and Itch.Io could also get hurt if internet companies start charging for more bandwidth.

The ESA is particularly worried its member companies, which include the likes of EA, Nintendo, Sony, Ubisoft, and Microsoft, will have no grounds for legal action against broadband providers that deliberately impair consumer's online game experiences after the repeal. 

"Without net neutrality, broadband providers are now permitted to engage in practices that degrade consumers’ traffic," reads the ESA's motion.

"That, in turn, could have significant consequences for the enjoyment of multiplayer online games and cloud-based game play services, both of which require low latency connections to support rapid and continuous interactivity.

"Degradation of consumers’ traffic could also impact game distribution networks, which depend upon adequate and consistent bandwidth to deliver large file downloads in a timely manner. ESA therefore supports enforceable open internet protections that have helped fuel dynamic growth, competition, and innovation in the video game industry."

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