The FCC plans to vote tomorrow on a sweeping overhaul of internet regulations that would roll back protections for net neutrality. Today, Twitch became the latest of dozens of tech companies that have come out in opposition to the FCC’s plans.
Twitch’s parent company Amazon has already expressed its support of net neutrality, but Twitch’s own statement more specifically outlines the consequences to video streaming and the streamers who make their living on the platform.
“Net neutrality has played an important role in the history of Twitch,” CEO Emmett Shear wrote. “Without it, we might not be here today, and our streamers might not be here tomorrow.”
“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,” he continued. “This is why we are lending our voice to championing a free and open internet.”
Net neutrality refers to the set of regulations currently in place that treat internet service as a utility. In other words, internet service [roviders are not allowed to treat any particular website or service differently than any other. As Twitch is a live-streaming platform that intrinsically uses more internet bandwidth than, say, text messaging, it’s widely believed that it and other video companies (like Netflix) are particularly at risk if net neutrality is rolled back.
The FCC’s intention to vote on the plan has been controversial, to say the least. In particular, its treatment of comments submitted through its website has garnered quite a bit of scrutiny. According to studies done on the comments, millions were fake–but the FCC nonetheless intends on carrying out the vote.