Net Neutrality

Mark Cuban on Net Neutrality: "The Government Will Fuck the Internet Up"

|


Entrepreneur, NBA team owner, and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban has this to say about Net Neutrality and the push to regulate the Internet under Title II of the Telecommunications Act:

"The government will fuck the the Internet up."

He also writes in an email exchange with Business Insider (all typos in originals):

"Since when have incumbent companies been the mainstays for multiple generations?" 

[Cuban] believes that startups blow up older companies despite an unregulated internet that allows internet providers to prioritize certain traffic streams. 

Overall, he thinks the current debate is too narrow and short sighted.

"There will be so much competition from all the enhancements to wireless that incumbent ISPs will have to spent their time fighting cord cutting," he said.

Read more.

A huge Twitter user, Cuban also recently tweeted the following (whole feed here):

The promise of the net is not content. Its high speed apps that chang healthcare, medicine, transportation, safety and more…

the best is yet to come on the net, and we cant hold it back because we want to make sure we can watch TV shows.We need fast lanes…

Blocking access is different animal. Where have you seen it happen?

In addition to a heavy dose of brio, Cuban brings a future orientation that is typically lacking in discussions of Net Neutrality, Title II reclassification, and related issues. It's an accident that cable companies morphed into ISPs (and it's no accident that they were once given monopolies by money-grubbing municipalities). There's no reason to believe that cable, much less fiber, will be the way the internet is delivered even in the near future, much less the medium future.

And I think Cuban, who made his big money from the sale of Broadcast.com about 10,000 years ago (in internet time) is right to emphasize that what we think of as central now (video streaming! Netflix vs. Comcast! torrenting!) will be trifling in the future.

The FCC specifically and governments generally have never been great at managing innovation. It works better when they stand aside and let it happen, as mostly happened with regard to the internet and web in the 1990s. Mostly, though not always: recall bipartisan attempts to place backdoors for easy spying in all sorts of telecom hardware and software, classifying encryption as munitions, and trying to regulate the internet in the name of protecting kids from child predators. The only thing that prevented that last bit from happening was a 9-0 Supreme Court ruling that extended toothsome First Amendment protections to the internet.

Net Neutrality and Title II reclassification are solutions to problems (blocking of sites! fast lanes that prevent new services from coming to market!) that don't yet exist. Each "solution" gives the same government that is godawful at respecting privacy rights more power over the most revolutionary means of communication since the printing press. Really not a good idea from just about any perspective.

In 2010, Reason TV asked, "Will Net Neutrality Save the Internet?"