The entrepreneur and TV star Mark Cuban has weighed in again on the subject of net neutrality, this time arguing that a continuation of the rules in the U.S. “effectively puts Donald Trump in charge of the Internet and its future.”
Cuban has long been against the idea of federally-mandated net neutrality—a term that describes forcing Internet service providers to treat all online content equally. He argues that having net neutrality rules gives the government control over the Internet.
Net neutrality advocates say the rules stop cable companies from being able to pick and choose who gets to deliver online services at a reasonable quality, and from being able to charge consumers more for full Internet access.
Ajit Pai, a former Verizon lawyer whom Trump put in charge of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), plans to rescind an Obama-era decision that gave the commission the power to regulate Internet service providers like public utilities. His proposal will go to a mid-December vote that will—with Republicans currently dominating the FFC’s board—almost certainly pass.
Cuban seems to agree with Pai, judging by tweets he published late Wednesday.
The core of Cuban’s (and the cable companies’) argument is that, without regulation, cable companies will be able to invest more in their infrastructure. This would presumably be the result of charging customers more than they currently do to access the full Internet, and offering cut-down packages of websites at low prices.
Net neutrality advocates, meanwhile, point to the U.S.’s relative lack of competition among fixed-line Internet services providers and argue that without competitive pressure, the cable companies will be able to treat their customers as they please.
In his Twitter session, Cuban’s retort was that dominant Internet service providers “are dominant because of regulation, not in spite of it.”
As for Cuban’s claim that net neutrality puts the president in charge of the Internet (at least, the American Internet), this appears to be a ploy to change the minds of net neutrality advocates who dislike Trump. However, the logic of his argument would imply that any federal regulations are bad, simply because of who the president is.