My Conversation with Business Insider about Net Neutrality

Hey Mark,

A few things that stood out from your recent string of Tweets:
Yes, broadband speed and quality have gotten better. But it’s still behind the most of the developed world. We pay a lot more on average for slower speeds on average.
The overarching problem is that there is no competition among ISPs. They each have monopolies where they operate. That in turn gives them little incentive to provide better service, invest in infrastructure, and so on. In fact investment in those things have declined over the last four years.
Allowing ISPs to compete would be wonderful, but they’re not competing now. And the way the system is set up now, they won’t need to.
The unfortunate truth is that while Title II isn’t ideal, it’s the best and only option we have right now to ensure those monopolies continue to run away.
Anyway, let me know what you think.

Mark Cuban <mcuban@gmail.com>

Nov 13 (3 days ago)

to Steve

If you don’t like it now let the government get involved.

Walk into any best buy and choose from 3 wireless broadband options and cable and Telco wired option

You have choices

How much faster are all those connections today then last year and the year before

That article you tweeted was beyond stupid

Steve Kovach

Nov 13 (3 days ago)

to Mark
Wireless is not an option. It will be one day, but right now it is far too expensive and spotty coverage-wise to be a replacement for wired broadband. Try connecting to aLTE network outside a major city and you’ll see what I mean. Maybe someone will swoop in and invest bazillions to build out a better wireless network. I hope that happens.

But for now, it’s all about wired, which is monopolized. And it’s going to be like that for the near to medium term. What’s your solution?

Mark Cuban <mcuban@gmail.com>

Nov 13 (3 days ago)

to Steve
where do you live ?

and i just realized you are with BI.
these arent for publication
m

Steve Kovach

Nov 13 (3 days ago)

to Mark
New York City. Manhattan, specifically.

I’d like to publish something in addition to your tweets though. A lot of people are talking about it. What’s your answer to solving the wired broadband monopoly if not Title II or something similar?

Mark Cuban <mcuban@gmail.com>

Nov 13 (3 days ago)

to Steve
First of all, I think that ISPs, however you define them are doing an amazing job increasing bandwidth available to homes. The idea that netflix , hulu and the aggregate of all OTT services can grow to where they are, as quickly as they have and service has gotten better, not worse in most places and cases, is a testament to the actual investment being made on increasing bandwidth.  PRoviders are jacking up not just b/w to the home, but the through put as well.
something is driving them , if not competition, what ?

and Isnt  theretmobile,verizon, att, sprint inmanhattan for wireless ?

Dont all have coverage for most of the continental US ?
if you can make your phone a hot spot on all  carriers (some charge more ), then you have broadband options,
when you want unlimited or close to unlimited bandwidth, then you have fewer choices or you may not like your choices, or coverage , but you have options, even if imperfect
then of course you have the option of walking out the door to any number of public hotspots to use wifi and the number and coverage of wifi hotspots is expanding every day
You may not like all your options, but thats a different issue. but lets put all that aside
the big morass is with the nuance of defining what will be covered and how.  No one can agree what net neutrality is and what title 2 should cover. What i am certain of however is that the government wont do a good job avoiding the law of unintended consequences
And let me be clear, if the promise of the internet was content like movies and tv shows or music videos, then none of this would be a big deal to me.
But its not.
We dont know whats next on the net and how it will be impacted by the need for the government to define what can and will happen on the net in some manner that they think protects consumers.
What if the need for machine vision is ubiquitous for some application, say self driving cars ,what happens ?
What if communities want to put up high res, high bit rate, real time video around schools , intersections, where ever the residents agree they are willing to accept any privacy issues. What happens ?
What if some amazing application appears that wants to suck up every free bit of bandwidth available in a shared manner between every and any CPU made available to it ?
What about medicine and health care.  THere is an emergency surgery that a doctor who is who knows where wants to be able to help in some manner that is unknown to us today, but all she cant get the bandwidth allocated to the application because it happens to be when tv and movie OTT services swamp bandwidth between the doctor and the remote hospital
what about the internet of things, what high bit rate applications will be created and how can they, or any other high bit rate applications get past the 50mbs peer to peer unicast streams that kids are streaming to each other on for 5 hours a night ?
we are trying to define the undefinable because it seems like some people are afraid they may be denied movies and tv shows.and the like
that makes no sense to me

Steve Kovach

Nov 14 (2 days ago)

to Mark
First, thank you for responding. This is great and really clarifies your tweets from yesterday and I think everyone will get a lot out of it.

A few things:

Yes, there’s great competition among the wireless carriers right now. The four major ones are available just about everywhere. And the competitive landscape is mostly working there and benefitting customers. Look at T-Mobile. The changes Legere has made there over the last 2 years have caused the big guys like Verizon and AT&T to react and change pricing plans and what they offer. That’s good!
But wireless broadband is not designed to be a replacement for your wired broadband. It’s designed to let you sip data on the go. Depending on the carrier, data plans can cost ~$60 for 3 GB of data per month. If you go over that, the carrier either throttles your speed or charges you extra for more data. That’s way more expensive than getting 250 GB or unlimited data on wired broadband for about the same price.
It’s unfair to say wireless and wired broadband providers compete with each other. They don’t. They will some day, maybe, but not now.
I also disagree that broadband has gotten as good as you think it has. Yes, it’s incrementally better, but still far behind other developed countries. Investment in broadband networks is declining, not going up. And the ISPs have no reason to build out their networks because there aren’t any viable competitors. (Google Fiber is an exception, but it’s only available in a handful of cities.) I also don’t consider free hotspots at coffee shops, etc. a competitor because they use the same ISPs folks use in their homes. Plus, I doubt ISPs are very worried about people sitting in Starbucks all day using free WiFi.
Your example of bandwidth for medicine and healthcare. Obama’s proposal would prioritize traffic for essential services like that. So that’s not an issue.
I do agree with you that we don’t know what the Internet will become, and what kinds of services it will power down the road. But I think it’s a narrow view saying net neutrality advocates just want faster Netflix. They don’t. Netflix is often used an example, but those who support Title II see the internet the same way you do. Who knows where we’ll be in a few years! And I think that gives us even more reason to make sure it’s protected now.
Based on what you’ve written, I think our goals are the same, but we differ on how to get there. I find that comforting!
Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to add.

Mark Cuban <mcuban@gmail.com>

Nov 14 (2 days ago)

to Steve

On Nov 14, 2014 9:19 AM, “Steve Kovach” <skovach@businessinsider.com> wrote:
>
> First, thank you for responding. This is great and really clarifies your tweets from yesterday and I think everyone will get a lot out of it.
>
> A few things:
>
> Yes, there’s great competition among the wireless carriers right now. The four major ones are available just about everywhere. And the competitive landscape is mostly working there and benefitting customers. Look at T-Mobile. The changes Legere has made there over the last 2 years have caused the big guys like Verizon and AT&T to react and change pricing plans and what they offer. That’s good!
>
> But wireless broadband is not designed to be a replacement for your wired broadband. It’s designed to let you sip data on the go. Depending on the carrier, data plans can cost ~$60 for 3 GB of data per month. If you go over that, the carrier either throttles your speed or charges you extra for more data. That’s way more expensive than getting 250 GB or unlimited data on wired broadband for about the same price.

..

What on the Internet ends up being used in the way it was designed ? The Internet was designed for everything but video. There are networks designed to carry video signals and they deliver digital TV channels every second of the day

You may not like the depth of competition wireless currently provides , but then wireless networks are getting better by the day and standards are being set for 5g that will compete with wired broadband

There will come a time in the next decade when cutting the cord refers to cutting your broadband cord. It’s inevitable.  How will Title 2 deal with that ? Will Title 2 sunset in 5 or 7 or 10 years or will we find the future of broadband cut off at the knees because title 2 of 2015 didn’t anticipate broadband of 2022?

Unwired WiFi networks are being created   There are thousands of broadband Hotspots.  How is that happening ? How far will it go and how will Title 2 impact their growth

>
> It’s unfair to say wireless and wired broadband providers compete with each other. They don’t. They will some day, maybe, but not now.

It’s unfair because it doesn’t fit your argument
>
> I also disagree that broadband has gotten as good as you think it has. Yes, it’s incrementally better, but still far behind other developed countries. Investment in broadband networks is declining, not going up. And the ISPs have no reason to build out their networks because there aren’t any viable competitors. (Google Fiber is an exception, but it’s only available in a handful of cities.) I also don’t consider free hotspots at coffee shops, etc. a competitor because they use the same ISPs folks use in their homes. Plus, I doubt ISPs are very worried about people sitting in Starbucks all day using free WiFi.
>

Nonsense.   How much wired bandwidth do you have today to your home vs 3 years ago what’s the comparative throughput?

And add some context

Netflix started streaming in earnest 5 years ago and the usage exploded.  It went from DVD to consuming 30pct of prime time bandwidth.  Networks built out to cover it and as a result Netflix is able to support 10s of millions of subscribers

If the networks aren’t keeping up why are the number of over the top video provider start ups exploding right now ? Are they all stupid ?

The amount if video consumed on the net is growing how fast ? Right ? How has that happened if networks are so bad ?

How is it that 4k video is now being streamed.  4k. Seriously if there was a fear of unequal access how in the world would 4k over the even be possible ? That’s 4x the bandwidth of HD

What about cloud computing ? How did it explode from nothing to huge ?

Millions of companies  trusting the net to provide access to any digital type of content and amazon Microsoft Google IBM and others trusting the net to provide access to their clouds and hosting servers on the networks you want to regulate

What is the impact of net neutrality going to be on clouds ?

What about cyber security , the minute there is an attack that does damage, you can bet that title 2 will be used as a weapon by politicians and we will have discussion of title 3 start.

What about CDNs? With NN in place  CDNs will explode. They will pay the networks a ton of money to host their servers and then charge the same people that you think will buy high end commercial fast lanes a ton of money to assure their streams are better to the last mile than Smaller competitors are. Should we regulate CDNs?

And of course what about the many other reasons beyond lack of choice in the last mile that impact consumer experience ?

When your next door neighbor streams his live gaming all day to his friends at 50mbs and everyone else on that last mile buffers all that the time who takes responsibility?

Should title 2 throttle upstream bandwidth to make sure the last mile isn’t impacted by bandwidth hogs ?

What happens if after title 2,  investment doesn’t keep up for the last mile and people start complaining that their service suffers because their neighbors stream all the time and the question is why should they suffer so their neighbors can watch streaming video rather than tv ? Why should a non OTT subscriber pay more so streamers get their video ?

What about non essential but ground breaking bandwidth hogging applications

Things like machine vision , high bit rate IOT applications , self driving cars , peered sensors ? What if there is a groundbreaming collaborative computing app that eats a ton of bandwidth ?

If you want to see bandwidth and innovation  throttled, have the government regulate network  management and investment

> Your example of bandwidth for medicine and healthcare. Obama’s proposal would prioritize traffic for essential services like that. So that’s not an issue.

NOT True.  First in line in a traffic jam is still slow and buffering.

And how are you going to regulate quality of service settings ?

Will Title 2 decide how last mile consumer usage will be prioritized vs downstream ?

Who is going to say what an essential service is ?

>
> I do agree with you that we don’t know what the Internet will become, and what kinds of services it will power down the road. But I think it’s a narrow view saying net neutrality advocates just want faster Netflix. They don’t. Netflix is often used an example, but those who support Title II see the internet the same way you do. Who knows where we’ll be in a few years! And I think that gives us even more reason to make sure it’s protected now.

You can’t protect what you don’t know. If that is the right approach  why not further regulate everything ?

>

What happens when some new Internet service takes on a political tint or is perceived as impacting an election

What if they get the legislation wrong ?

No one trusts the politicians we have in  place to do anything right, but we think they can take on a difficult issue like this?

, Based on what you’ve written, I think our goals are the same, but we differ on how to get there. I find that comforting!

No they aren’t.

There is a place for more
government  If the net wasn’t working. it’s working

The issues above are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head
I’m sure there are thousands more

The net is working. There is no better platform for innovation in the world right now than the net and you think further  regulating it is good ?

You keep on saying that more money is being spent elsewhere on networks than here in the USA. Show me those numbers   I see more per capita being spent here

And you talk about our ranking in the developed world. You and many are being intentionally obtuse

All the surveys are based on average speed. We rank 11th I think , but the difference between 11 and 2nd is 3 mbs

3mbs and that’s based on averages

When you look at peak speed it’s a smaller delta

And all the countries above us are denser and less populous

As far as growth in speed , we are increasing 9pct or more quarter over quarter

How is that bad ?

Steve Kovach

Nov 14 (2 days ago)

to Mark
I’m still not convinced by your argument that wired and wireless broadband compete. IfLTE from wireless carriers won’t work everywhere (indoors, basements, dead zones, rural areas, etc.) and it costs much more than wired broadband, how are those direct competitors? How are wireless carriers offering a viable alternative to wired broadband? (That’s not to say they’ll never be able to do it. But in the near to medium term, it’s not gonna happen.)

I also don’t buy the population density argument when it comes to internet speeds.
I live in Manhattan, which is very dense (duh.)
Here’s a speed test from my apartment on Time Warner cable in April:
Inline image 1

Here’s a speed test I took from a random coffee shop using free WiFi in Seoul, Korea in April:
Inline image 2

That’s a huge gap. And while I can pay Time Warner extra to get speeds like that, I wouldn’t have to in Korea.

Mark Cuban <mcuban@gmail.com>

Nov 14 (2 days ago)

to Steve
you got me. Wearent as good as southkorea.

now explain to me how government intervention is going to change that ?
And explain to your internet cafe how they are only getting 50mbs when they are paying for more

Mark Cuban <mcuban@gmail.com>

Nov 14 (2 days ago)

to Steve
oh and forgot to answer your wireless issue

Your wired broadband doesnt have drops that cover every inch ofyour apartment. ANd your wi fi wont either, and you risk interference from your neighbors appliances. It has limits. Like mobile.
Have you checked to see if you can get mobile service in your apartment ? Maybe with an amplifier ?
you arent a typical internet user.
What percentage of internet homes use under 40gbs per month ?

Steve Kovach

Nov 14 (2 days ago)

to Mark
That still doesn’t account for the cost thing. Watch two movies on Netflix and you’ve eaten up your data cap from Verizon.

Mark Cuban <mcuban@gmail.com>

Nov 14 (2 days ago)

to Steve
Mosthousehouldsarentnetflix users. At least not yet.  Most just use the internet like they did prenetflix

Steve Kovach

Nov 14 (2 days ago)

to Mark
That was just an example. What about YouTube? You don’t think the average person can eat up 3 Gb of YouTube along with other basic stuff like emailing, web browsing,facebooking, and so on? 3 Gb is nothing.

My point is, wireless plans are designed for on the go. Wired is designed for heavy usage. They’re not the same. I hope that changes, but it’s not the reality of things now.
Also!
Next time you’re in New York you should come by BI’s office and hang out. We’ve grown so much. You should see it. Crazy, exciting company to be at. I’ve been here four years and I love it.

Mark Cuban <mcuban@gmail.com>

Nov 14 (2 days ago)

to Steve

Would  love to come by

And remember we aren’t typical users

Mark Cuban <mcuban@gmail.com>

2:10 PM (0 minutes ago)

to Steve
You took a nice discussion and cherry picked it into bullshit so you could make your point.

36 thoughts on “My Conversation with Business Insider about Net Neutrality

  1. Pingback: Experts Discuss Net Neutrality’s Effect on Health IT, Innovation | OneClickMed

  2. The key is that Korea opened up the “last mile” to more than just cable/telecos and offered loans to those companies investing in fiber.

    Comment by downsidecapital (@downsidecapital) -

  3. Leave the government out, the market will find a way. We had the usual list of crappy, expensive choices in our area. Then a company came along that uses giant wireless transmitters and a receiver on our roof (think like a satellite TV provider, but hooks up to a local tower, not a satellite signal). The company is Digis and it’s in the Salt Lake City area. Half the cost for more than double the bandwidth. It’s great, market at work. Fiber’s making it’s way, I know another local independent company who’s working on it in addition to whatever Google has planned. Who knows how government regulations would have treated these 2 companies (probably badly given how big corporations use government regs to push things that they can live with, but quash smaller threats), but the point is that it’s not up to them to decide. And that’s Mark’s point, and we don’t need net neutrality to “fix” things that will fix themselves.

    Comment by Jonathan Stewart -

  4. Pingback: Mark Cuban disagrees with me about net neutrality | SomeLearning

  5. To everybody who says the internet would suck if the government got involved, you do realize the only reason it’s as good as it is now is because the government built and funded it for over 20 years (1969-1995), and continues to operate essential services, including ICANN and IANA.

    One of my favorite verizon features (unlocked phones for international travel) only exists because the government made them do it. I don’t see why it’s so obvious that the government can’t regulate things well.

    Comment by dbt (@dbt) -

  6. The Internet has done alright without a lot of government regulation. I think there are people in power who have wanted for a long time to exert more control over Internet content. Net Neutrality is the vehicle that will give politicians the power to squelch speech, in any format, on the Internet that they declare is illegal. Political discourse will be regulated to print which will effectively limit its distribution and influence.

    People forget that the Internet is not a public utility. Small independent ISPs and large corporate entities have invested trillions of dollars to create the networks we enjoy. IMHO, the people who own the networks should decide how they will be used and the market will influence their decisions. Those that provide a freer network will prosper while those that build more limitations will falter in the long term.

    If Net Neutrality is passed and it leads to a government takeover of the wild and woolly Internet, I suspect that a new private network will be created, separate from THE Internet that will attempt to recreate the classic environment except with better network design.

    Just my 2 cents for what they are worth. Long live the Internet as long as it lasts.
    — Danny in Plano

    P.S. Love Shark Tank and congrats on 100 episodes. You guys ROCK!

    Comment by Danny Spell (@Spellinator) -

  7. Pingback: Mark Cuban disagrees with me about net neutrality | Ad Pub

  8. Pingback: Mark Cuban disagrees with me about net neutrality | TechDiem.com

  9. Pingback: Here’s The Full Conversation I Had With Mark Cuban About The Future Of The Internet

  10. As someone who had Verizon throttle my Netflix down to 300Kb inside my 50Mb pipe during the month of May it is pretty obvious to me what needs to change. Verizon needs to get their nose out of the pipe and stop trying to vary their billing based on what type of data is in the pipe. This is like Verizon listening in on your phone calls and then charging you $100 each time you talk to your broker since those calls are more valuable to you.

    If Verizon is not restrained it looks to me like they will use their monopoly/duopoly position to start auctioning off their captive customer’s internet use. If you’re a Google user how are you going to feel where Verizon sells you to Microsoft and blocks Google? Or maybe they start adding $10/hr surcharges for VPN use?

    I suspect it is going to take Title II on the wires from the customer to the data center to keep the monopoly from being abused. Title II provides a fixed rate of return set by the regulator so there should be no reason to stop investing. The rest of Verizon’s network can turn into a transit network and be sold for whatever they can get.

    But what has to stop is Verizon’s manipulation of the data inside the pipes to their commercial advantage. Or do you think it’s OK for Verizon to listen in on your stock trades?

    Comment by jonsmirl -

  11. Pingback: Mark Cuban disagrees with me about net neutrality | Tech Auntie

  12. Pingback: Mark Cuban disagrees with me about net neutrality | 381test

  13. Pingback: Here’s The Full Conversation I Had With Mark Cuban About The Future Of The Internet | Digital Wealth

  14. Pingback: Here's The Full Conversation I Had With Mark Cuban About The Future Of The Internet - Responsive | Responsive

  15. Pingback: Net neutrality: Here’s what it means, and why people are talking about it - Rick Kupchella's – BringMeTheNews.com

  16. Mark made available his valuable time and had a dialogue with this reporter in regard to Net Neutrality. He made some very good points in regard to the “unknowns” of Govt “management”. God knows, we have seen this everywhere – healthcare, education etc. What he provided was very insightful and from someone who has vast experience in the industry. The reporter was LUCKY to even get his input. It was all just on the fly off the top of Marks head. Ive read alot of articles on net neutrality, I have been in the industry for decades and what Mark said very insightful and in a very succinctly manner, put forth some of the best analysis that I have read to date. And I have read alot on this topic. Mark NAILED IT.

    What is disturbing is the reporters final reaction to Marks valuable insight. If this is who frames our debate on such important issues, we need to find a better arena for the debate of ideas.

    Kudos to Mark, I hope he will make an effort to ensure his opinions are known far and wide. We need solutions that actually work. It only makes a difference for EVERYONE.

    Comment by Brent D Amundson -

  17. Hey Mark,I agree. As an entrepreneur I struggle with asking the government to get involved in anything to do with business, but this seems to be one of those times where the potential consequences are too great to do otherwise. As the saying goes, “Bad service at a restaurant invites competition” Unless you’re the only restaurant.Some of the best innovations come from those who possess not only the genius of creating the new product/service, but the desire, and ability to make sales regardless of their limited capital. True entrepreneurs are resourceful when financial resources are absent, but if they are not even allowed to compete?  That’s where the issue would be.Best Regards,Mark AllenCorporate Office: 888-601-3777Fax: 888-250-8324Visit Us Online at:http://www.3dmedialive.com Facebook – Grab Your FREE Report “The Top 5 FREE Marketing Methods of 2014”Twitter – Daily Marketing Tips That Deliver Results 

    Comment by mark@3dmedialive.com -

  18. I am surprised that someone as intelligent and informed as Mark Cuban would make a blanket statement like, “If you don’t like it now let the government get involved.” That is such narrow-focused, PR-buying thinking. There are many areas and systems where the government is the best service provider. I live in Los Angeles, where the customers of DWP (the Dept. of Water and Power) are significantly better off than those of SoCal Edison, in terms of price, outages, and customer service.

    In almost every city in the US and worldwide where the government offers wi-fi and internet service, it’s cheaper and faster. In the US, we have the slowest and most expensive wireless and wired access in the developed world, and it is precisely because it is all being built for the purpose of maximizing shareholder return, as opposed to providing a public good.

    Why do we have the highest incarceration rates in the world, as well as the highest per-prisoner costs? Because we allowed prisons to be privatized and with that brought lobbyists, investment banking divisions, analysts, and all the things that suck money out of a system (our tax dollars) in order to redistribute it to shareholders. The same is true for healthcare. When there aren’t shareholders or i-bankers getting their chuck of it, the service providers get paid more and the customers pay less. It is a win for everyone (except those who want to live solely by the sweat of their capital).

    Yes, manufacturing, retail, entertainment and almost all consumer-oriented sectors are better in free market systems, but public utilities and public goods (schools, roads, prisons) are significantly better and cheaper when paid for equivalently by all, with payment for them only going to cover the actual cost of providing the good.

    Comment by Valerie Alexander -

    • you make good points. There are quite a few things where government involvement has worked . Im good with it. I just think the difference is that we are trying to project what the Internet may become and create rules to protect that unknown future. Thats tough for anyone, impossible for government

      Comment by CyberDust ID - Blogmaverick -

  19. “You took a nice discussion and cherry picked it into bullshit so you could make your point.” -enough said.

    Comment by William Tatun (@wtatun) -

  20. Wireless broadband extends past LTE and cell phone. When I lived in Valley Center California, TWC only serviced about 5 square miles of the town. Everything outside of that area was considered unprofitable for TWC to build out the infrastructure.

    To address the need, two local companies started wireless broadband services with speeds comparable to TWC. Most of the people in the area used one of the two services.

    The great thing about these local providers is local service. If you call TWC or CenturyLink, you end up talking to someone in India. Scheduling is a nightmare. You are just one of millions. With the local ISPs, I can make a local call, talk to a local person, and within hours (sometimes minutes) have someone at my house for repairs or upgrades.

    The ISP business is already pretty screwed up here in the U.S. and if some of the proposed legislative changes come into play, it will only get worse.

    I plan to cut my Dish in 2015. With providers like CBS testing Roku apps, HBOGO uncoupling subscription requirements next year, and with new OTT channels appearing daily, broadcast television and cable providers and quaking in their boots; and if they are not, they will be the first to fall.

    — Jamey

    Comment by Jamey Kirby -

  21. Reblogged this on The Gregg Group | Ummm, what?!? and commented:
    Insights from a true “insider” …

    Comment by jg -

  22. I respect Mark Cuban and agree with him most of the time but on Net Neutrality he has his facts backwards. Which is pretty amazing given where he made his money.

    Just like Power Lines, Phone Lines, and Roads broadband is a public transport system and there is a need for the government to make sure those pathways are open to everyone.

    Just like with phone lines and roads if the government had not been involved then they would have only been built in area where it would be quickly profitable for business. The government forced phone companies to build out service to rural areas (and gave incentives as well). That is the only reason we now have universal phone service. Roads are another example of government foresight shaping our country for the better. Before the Interstate Highway system roads were often a slow meandering affair that did not allow for moving goods and services quickly. The Interstate Highway system literally created the America we now take for granted in so many ways.

    In 2004 I would have agreed with you that we should let the telco and cable companies do their thing. However it is now 2014 and things have gotten worse not better. Sure speeds have gone up but compared to the rest of the world it is a huge embarrassment how much we pay for such low speed and quality. There used to be real competition in DSL service. That has disappeared and we now have a situation where 99% of Americans only have 2 choices. Cable or DSL/Fiber from their phone company. These two companies are happy to each have half the market and are not ever really competing.

    The Cable & Telcos have had MANY years to get this right on their own and avoid regulation. They have failed! Government needs to set some basic ground rules to ensure the next great internet idea has a chance instead of being killed before it starts because they can’t get their service into peoples homes without paying. Net Neutrality is about making sure that the Cable & Telcos do not strangle the internet to death.

    This is not hyperbolic either. the Cable & Telcos want you to buy video services from them! They do not want to allow any outside services and if they are allowed they will slowdown and kill Netflix and others. There is an inherent conflict of interest with them selling Internet service and Video Content.

    Net Neutrality is the side of freedom in this debate!

    Comment by maronoff -

  23. Remove the ‘content congestion’ problem and there are no “traffic jams” for ISPs to (leverage more) profit by offering ‘fast lanes’. And, internet ‘traffic jams’ are primarily due to the lack of infrastructure investments, by ISPs, to robustly handle increases in web traffic.

    In short, the issue isn’t ‘Net Neutrality’… (i.e. the issue of handling congested packets neutrally), its building a robust internet so that all public packet traffic is treated equally on the internet commons. While ISPs are free to offer ‘turbo-charged’ services to business clients.

    Net Neutrality v Paid Prioritization is a false dichotomy, and Title II of the Telecommunications Act, as is, may short-change the future web… as it predates digital ‘communications’ -which can now turn virtual data into real, manufactured, goods… with 3D Printing.

    Bottom line, ISP’s lack the will, and competitive landscape, to invest in the robust web backbone needed to handle the ‘Big Data’ future we all know is here… but dare not fully embrace it… for fear of sinking under the weight. Unlike our counterparts in other lands.

    The U.S. needs to fully tackle this issue, the way President Eisenhower tackled the issues of congestion, economic growth and national defense… and in the process created the foundation for the 2nd Industrial Revolution. He called it the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, aka The Interstate.

    Comment by bizcardtv -

  24. Thanks for the keen insights, Mark. A knowledge of How the Net Works is so important, but often lacking, this debate. Cherry picked “data” and anecdotal international city comparisons aren’t helpful in evaluating this big, complex topic. Real systematic data on US v world Internet traffic http://bit.ly/trafficshare13 and US v world speeds http://bit.ly/US-need-speed might be useful as a baseline for discussion. Plus http://bit.ly/boomend on US broadband success in a hands-off environment. You are right, however, that even if the US Internet weren’t booming, Title II regualtion would still not be the way to improve it.

    Best,

    Bret

    Comment by Bret Swanson (@JBSay) -

  25. Thanks for keen insight, Mark. Cherry picked “data” and anecdotes are not a useful way to evaluate a big, complex topic. Actual data on US v world Internet traffic http://bit.ly/trafficshare13 and actual data on US v world speeds http://bit.ly/US-need-speed might help the discussion. Plus http://bit.ly/boomend. Watch for a new study coming this week.

    Bret

    Comment by bretswanson -

  26. How did I get into this convo?

    Since I’m here. Mark… I need to talk to you about an app that will revolutionize social media. Can we skip Shark Tank and just get together for a few?

    Carrlos

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Comment by carrlos -

  27. I used to be stuck with one of the cable monopolies for internet, until a smaller company opened up to compete with the big boys. I now have fiber optic internet, tv, and phone service, which is all of higher quality and less expensive than the previous cable provider’s service. This IS competition and they are doing great at it. They even recently increased our bandwidth to 200M/25M without increasing anyone’s bill. Fiber optic is more than sufficient for all internet needs without being bias against any specific service. We just need more companies to get out there and make it available. Wifi/Hotspot/Mobile internet is NOT, and NEVER will be, sufficient as it is unreliable by nature. Fiber is the future. Keep government out of it, unless they are going to offer incentives for companies to further expand fiber optic networks. We don’t need control, we need to improve infrastructure.

    Comment by VaiN (@VaiN474) -

  28. Mark, I’m an entrepreneur like you; however, I had the misfortune to have decided to launch the world’s first wireless ISP. It’s been going for 23 years now, but regulation has kept it from growing as it might have. And so-called “Net Neutrality” regulations would strangle it with red tape and prevent me from ever getting investment capital. Isn’t it ironic that someone who says he wants competition favors regulations that would kill it?

    Comment by Brett Glass (@brettglass) -

  29. The following is from an eminent German RF engineer. The following antennas have capability to solve the last mile delivery issue that Power utilities have been struggling with. As power consumption declines power companies need to find new sources of revenue and in many cases they have laid a lot of fiber. Just need a few of them to become pragmatists in pain and we cloud have some new competitors.
    http://www.opticalzonu.com/modules/oz516/

    http://www.opticalzonu.com/solutions/wimax4glte/

    Aivars Lode

    Comment by Aivars Lode (@alodeavantce) -

  30. I am a Mark Cuban fan, but could not disagree with Mark Cuban more on this issue. I wrote an article for TheStreet, where I looked at the telecom industry before government intervention (the Bell monopoly restricting endpoint devices, and the market for consumer answering machines, modems, faxes, etc. only emerging after the government limited Bell’s market power). Cuban’s absolute fear of government intervention in economic markets is irrational; excessive market power held by private actors can be even more toxic to economic growth and innovation than excessive government involvement:

    1) Enron caused rolling blackouts throughout the state, and nearly bankrupted the California, by leveraging its market power to manipulate the energy market.

    2) Bell limited innovation at the endpoints by restricting third party devices on its network and forcing customers to lease its equipment.

    3) etc.

    Some of Cuban’s counterpoints are very easily rebutted. For example:

    1) “What if some amazing application appears that wants to suck up every free bit of bandwidth available in a shared manner between every and any CPU made available to it ?”

    That would require both the application provider and its consumers to voluntarily offer up their connections for the application to run. Net neutrality merely ensures that a third party (either an ISP or interconnect provider) cannot stage a man-in-the-middle attack and throttle, block, or redirect that traffic. If anything, the market would respond with higher pricing per GB/MB/etc. and increased build-out in response to the higher demand. Price and capacity are the independent variables that will move in response to changes in demand. I thought Cuban was a believer in the power of markets to evolve in response to changes in supply/demand?

    2) “There is a place for more government If the net wasn’t working. it’s working”

    Let’s not forget that the government invented the Internet, and its financial support (DoD, NASA, etc.) spawned the entire consumer electronics industry as well. The Internet is working precisely because carriers are not able to force consumers into walled gardens or block/throttle Internet services. Cuban’s irrational fear of “government” is the flip side of the hippies who rail against “big business” while they are eating at McDonalds.

    3) “What happens when some new Internet service takes on a political tint or is perceived as impacting an election”

    That is one of the best arguments FOR net neutrality. There have been cases where privately owned TV stations have refused to air political advertisements for a party they don’t support. Should Comcast have any input, whatsoever, as to what content that consumers are able to consume or be empowered to give websites whose agenda they support priority access to their subscribers?

    4) Cuban is focused on aggregate industry-level investment/capex, but the real issue is that this is a local/regional market with limited consumer choice (monopoly/oligopoly dynamic) in many regions. The local/regional ISP(s), if allowed to prioritize apps/content, could limit the availability of high bandwidth or competitive services in those regions.

    I cannot help but wonder whether Cuban would have a very different view on Net Neutrality if he were still running Broadcast.com…. Still a big fan of Cuban’s, but he is VERY wrong on this issue.

    Comment by Lenny Grover (@lennygrover) -

  31. As a government insider for 16 years I can say without a shred of doubt that if uncle sugar is involved it will be the worst possible resolution. We are inefficient at best and grossly incompetent at worst.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Comment by Harry Lidsky -

  32. I read your discussion with Steve and the BI article he wrote about it http://www.businessinsider.com/mark-cuban-on-net-neutrality-2014-11 I don’t think that he gave you a fair shake, but making news the job of journalists. He made it into a narrative whereby you’re anti-Internet, and he’s the good guy. He’ll get a lot of page views for it and he gets all the free publicity from your supporters coming out of the woodwork to pipe up in the comments. I don’t know if this is true for BI, but BuzzFeed and other news sites pay for comments and views, which he has on a platter. I thought this was why you used CyberDust, so that people wouldn’t take your words and twist them?

    Comment by Caroline L (@LaMarEstaba) -

  33. Mark:

    Anything the government is involved in seems to be an epic fail except the military. Private sector, Baby.

    Comment by . (@badgerbanker) -

Comments are closed.