The Cable Model and The Internet Model

The cable industry used the following model to build out the industry in the US:

1) cable operators were given local monopolies as incentive to build out the expensive last mile networks into every home in the market

2) cable operators leveraged this last mile monopoly to determine which cable channels to carry on their networks and which they would not carry

3) cable operators often required large free slugs of equity in the cable channels in order to agree to carry them on their networks

4) even with digital cable technology, cable systems rarely carry more than 1000 channels on their networks


The internet industry used the following model to build out the industry globally:

1) the internet was deployed on top of existing telecommunications infrastructure, initially dial-up modems that moved data over voice lines

2) no monopolies were given out as incentives to build out networks. entrepreneurs jumped in, financed by venture capital and other equity capital markets

3) anyone can put a server on the global internet and offer service to anyone. there are no gatekeepers

4) entrepreneurs don’t have to hand over slugs of their equity in order to get carriage on the global public internet

5) there are between 750mm and 1bn active domains on the global internet according to some estimates


These are two very different models but in one way they are converging. The last mile telcos and cable companies have taken over the internet access (last mile) market by virtue of the move from dial-up to broadband and today there is a duopoly in most local markets. It is very possible that these internet access providers could evolve the internet industry to the cable model.

And that is why Ted Cruz is wrong when he says this (at 3:50min in this talk):

This whole net neutrality thing is a fight between big boys, between gigantic companies on one side and gigantic companies on the other.

It’s actually a fight between the 1bn active domains and the roughly six or seven wired and wireless carriers who own the internet access market in the US. This is a David vs Goliath issue and the Davids don’t have the ability to go toe to toe in the market with the Goliaths. And that is why Net Neutrality is a conservative idea. Let’s keep the Internet industry operating on the Internet model and not allow it to be moved to a cable model. That is all that this is about. And I am going to do what I can to make that case to Ted Cruz and his conservative colleagues as soon as I get the chance.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Morgan Warstler

    Almost from the moment of go on the Internet, Akamai was building caching servers directly into the headend of 2500 cable zones and DSL providers and charging large players to have their web pages load faster than everyone elses.So first Fred, admit this is true. Small guys have ALWAYS been slower than big guys for end users.Second, sponsored bandwidth is the future, apps that work on your smartphone even if you do not pay your bill. Devices that you pay for once and data is free FOREVER. If the poor pay to get 1Mbps and Netflix when you use their app pays to bump that up to 3Mbps, how does this not violate the NN you are promoting?Third, why do you not think that Google and Apple and Facebook etc ought to be forced to use their cash piles to build out another last mile delivery mechanism?I never see hard direct answers to these points.I’d love for you to go deep in answering them.

    1. William Mougayar

      Sponsored bandwidth can still exist on its own, but it doesn’t need the cable co’s monopoly to make that happen. And there’s now p2p bandwidth models (mesh networks) that are also emerging, and that shortcuts the top down controls of existing ISPs.

      1. scottythebody

        I agree. Sponsored bandwidth doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the last mile provider. In fact, that would likely be a business lever that the provider of sponsored bandwidth would use to manage their service: switching providers to match quality or cost metrics.

        1. Morgan Warstler


      2. Morgan Warstler

        Again, not true. Sponsored bandwidth is about more than reverse billing (patents owned by Qualcomm done for Kindle’s Whispernet) it also likely requires caching at the last mile AND Paying TWC to open the pipe to 3Mbps.This is what i mean, I don’t want a sentence assurance, bc it makes me think you haven’t thought it all through. I want DEEP DEEP dive on it AND guarantee how you will not support any legislation that would interfere with sender pays.

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          You first 🙂

    2. scottythebody

      The Akamai model proves Fred’s point. The duopolies didn’t get to manage the fast lane, but another company (that did REALLY well for a while for sure) was able to innovate and offer a service on top of the stack. So, sure, people who paid for Akamai had some advantage, for which they paid A LOT of money, and Akamai, an upstart company with an opportunity, raked in cash. Both sides paid for bandwidth, as did the end users: WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN!

      1. Morgan Warstler

        TIme Warner made serious bank off Akamai. Go read about the early agreements.

        1. scottythebody

          I’m sure TW made them pay dearly, just as they would any other service wanting to user their fast lane.

          1. Morgan Warstler

            And it all worked out great!Glad to have you aboard.

    3. kidmercury

      damn. harsh truth right here. NN advocates must be reeling from the blows.i’d also love to see NN advocates clearly communicate what is the problem that is occurring *right now* — not some hypothetical, what-if-it -becomes-a-monopoly-and-they-shut-everything-off-and-ruin-our-lives doomsday scenario. i don’t see any data suggesting the problem is here and now. if anything, i think there is more of a threat to freedom and monopoly at the application layer than at the infrastructure layer.

      1. Richard

        Yep, one problem with NN is that the internet and its role in society are not static.With NN being a utility, the dynamics of it, and the investment required in response to these dynamics, are now outside of market forces.The bottled water maket exhists for a reason.

        1. Morgan Warstler

          I actually believe we now drink less soda bc of bottled water.

          1. LE

            Several things could make that statement true:1. Bottled water takes up shelf space. Less shelf space for Pepsi less sales for Pepsi. (Also less premium shelf space means less sales). If Pepsi was not on an “end cap” [1] would mom load a carton impulsively? (Possibly “no”). If Mom is schlepping heavy water is she less likely to want to also schlep as much Pepsi? (I say “no”). If mom is primed in a healthy mindset thinking “natural and pure” is she more likely to not buy sugar water? (I say “yes”). And so on.2. Act of having a bottle and drinking is part for the contents of the bottle bit also for having something to put to your lips (like guy at party holding beer bottle but not drinking beer). Displacement activity. [2][1]…[2]

      2. LE

        what is the problem that is occurring *right now* — not some hypothetical, what-if-it -becomes-a-monopoly-and-they-shut-everything off-and-ruin-our-lives doomsday scenario.It’s kind of a chicken little slippery slope privacy paradox (got that?) thing that the geeks get all up in arms about (while at the same revealing so much about themselves online as if they don’t care if everyone knows everything about them.) [1] Like the government is going to listen to everything and be able to act on everything. They actually have those resources at their disposal and would actually, if allowed, build a system to do that if they could! It could just wait long enough!Point being everything is taken to the extreme as if it will happen at some point. Lawyers do this as well. Like the case will end up at Scotus.Had a lawyer (who is also a doctor) in a condo meeting who didn’t want us to put a late charge on late condo payments (which I had championed and suggested) and used the argument that “we could be sued” over it if we didn’t follow the correct procedure laid out in the condo documents. To which I shouted out something that roughly translated to “What are you fucking nuts! Someone is going to hire a lawyer and sue over a $65 charge!” [2][1] Not the example I wanted to use but like if Fred were to write a blog post about privacy after blogging for 10 years where everyone knows exactly when he is on vacation and everything about him.[2] By the way this is a complex of roughly 55 owners. It’s not Lefrak City. I took that into account when I replied to him. [3][3]

    4. Kirsten Lambertsen

      You’re mixing two different things. Paying to go faster is not the same as paying to _not be slowed down_ or allowed to go at all.We have public transportation that is (mostly) affordable for all. But if the wealthy want to take a helicopter to work, they have that option. Does that mean we shouldn’t have public transportation?CDN’s are for speeding up what would otherwise be slow-loading sites (image, media heavy). They are the helicopters.Would you also argue for sponsored public transportation? San Francisco started out with “sponsored” public transportation, and they ended up with trolly car lines that only went to from a single mansion to a single office building. It was chaos.Why do you view access-as-a-utility as being at odds with sponsored _faster_ bandwidth.

      1. Morgan Warstler

        I’m not mixing things. I’m telling you can’t UNMIX them. Your public transportation metaphor completely supports my position, the little retail shops that sell to the bus riding public HAVE to position themselves near the bus stops. Helicopter pads aren’t very common there.Bandwidth and caching are just two bit of the tech, and you can’t even clearly split those. Because of peering agreements the last mile provider has vested interest in caching popular assets not just to improve user experience, but to eliminate multiple outbound inbound calls.Netflix has a nice server cabinet full of their most popular assets, they would LIKE to have inside the cable headend (for free), and I’d like netflix PAY thru the nose for that, so that other customers who don’t have netflix, get cheaper overall service.I’d LIKE Google and Apple to be seen as two fat calves for the Cable guys to start to put the screws to, to force them to either offset bandwidth built out costs OR build out their own.

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          So, would you, indeed, argue for sponsored public transportation?I wonder where else this idea could be applied? Medicine? Roads? Air travel? Electricity? Water/sewage? Our national parks?I am having trouble, though, seeing how my public transportation example “completely supports” your position. I gave a real world example of how sponsored transportation was implemented and failed.

          1. Morgan Warstler

            because you are thinking about the bus rider like they are web company.They aren’t they are the retailer paying rent for their location in your metaphor.I’m saying THEY should be able to buy you a plane ticket, Uber, or pay for your bus ticket etc.We want a model that allows that the bottom half of our society buys a device and never pays for bandwidth.YES that would mean there’s a whole Internet that half of the people don’t see right away.

      2. Neil

        You get the award for “Clarity.” Great insight: “Paying to go faster is not the same as paying to _not be slowed down_ or allowed to go at all.”

    5. fredwilson

      sponsored bandwidth, aka zero rating, is a really bad thing. that’s why the president’s comments about including wireless in the net neutrality rules is such a good thing

      1. Morgan Warstler

        sponsored bandwidth is a bad thing? I’m speechless. Do you hate poor people? Facebook is dropping sponsored bandwidth across Africa. Whats wrong with it?

        1. LE

          I’m speechless. Do you hate poor people?What? I don’t hate poor people. But I don’t think a lot about them either day to day. Nor do I invite them over to have dinner with me or am I friends with them for that matter. My point being what kind of argument is that to make?

        2. SubstrateUndertow

          The base problem is their poverty/disenfranchisement.Having wealth players seeking rent via sponsored bandwidth is not a solution. It just adds subservient-insult to their original disenfranchisement injury.

    6. LE

      Third, why do you not think that Google and Apple and Facebook etc ought to be forced to use their cash piles to build out another last mile delivery mechanism?The way you put that it “rhymes” with “tax”! However rephrased it does make sense. I guess I still, despite what Fred says, can’t get beyond why there is not a case for why someone hogging so much bandwidth doesn’t have to pay more to do so. It all comes down to the definition of “so much bandwidth”, right? But no question that Netflix is using much more bandwidth than someone’s “shitty little website”. Or twitter. Or even (in the present use case) Facebook.

      1. George

        You don’t think Netflix pays for its bandwidth?

  2. Tom Labus

    What about alternatives like Google Fiber? Can non cable/telcos offer an alternative?

    1. scottythebody

      It’s inevitable, I think.

      1. pointsnfigures

        HFT using microwave towers.… What happens when this gets cheap enough for home use?

        1. LE

          What happens when this gets cheap enough for home use?Most likely nothing. Most people, most normals, don’t want to tack something onto the roof of their house. They are happy with what they are getting from the legacy broadband provider.Back in my area, before cable, some people in my neighborhood growing up had these big honking antennas on their roof so they could pickup the “New York Channels” in order to watch certain sports games. (The had motors and could rotate them like satellite dishes) Not many though. Most people didn’t need to watch sports enough or watch other TV stations to erect these things on their roof (I’ve left out unsightly in the last sentence because I’m assuming an HFT antenna would not be “honking big”).

  3. scottythebody

    Tell ’em, Fred!

  4. Jon Smirl

    During the spring Verizon chose to mess with Netflix delivery by limiting the number of Internet connection points in NYC to Cogent’s network. I happen to work on some unrelated sites also hosted on that Cogent network. For the month of May I was unable to get reliable connections to these unrelated sites. I was paying Verizon for this service which they failed to provide. I finally had to install a parallel Comcast connection which did not route through the contested node. As soon as I was able to I canceled my Verizon contract.Republican leadership is on the wrong side of this issue. This is the people vs the ISPs. The people are the ones paying the bills and being denied the services they are paying for. I suspect a majority of Republican voters would support this position.The large ISPs should be split into two companies. 1) Title II regulated last mile from the data center to the end customer. Title II guarantees a rate of return (just not 90% profits). Open, free access to these data centers for transit providers 2) the rest of the ISP network becomes a paid transit provider and they can charge whatever they want.Then have the FCC approve virtual cable companies over the Internet. Finally we will have some real competition for video. I am tired of having my cable bill exceed my gas, electricity and water bills combined.

  5. William Mougayar

    It strikes me that these sponsored bandwidths schemes are what the cable cos/ISP are counting on in order to subsidize their falling cash cow revenues, as more users cut cords. They are getting paid from sponsors instead of users. It kind of muddies the situation and it looks like they are doing a good thing by providing “free” services, whereas in reality, they are just delaying their death.

    1. scottythebody

      Ditched cable over a decade ago and haven’t missed it a bit, really. Sure, I sometimes want to see a show and have to wait for a while. I saw The Wire binge style on DVD a couple years after it was over. I’ll survive.Just went LTE with my mobile provider after having paid one of the cable companies €70/month for 100Mbps. Went to 24€/month (minus diplomatic discount) and am getting 70Mbps over the air. Now I just need a couple content providers “over the top” and I’m good.

      1. William Mougayar

        Good direction. I’m rooting for more “over the air” everything. That’s the future.

  6. William Mougayar

    Will this be won by legal wins (you shall do that) or market wins (keep losing customers)?

  7. JLM

    .The cable “model” does not exist because the cable companies have long since evolved into cable, phone and ISP companies.The Internet model is being promulgated by the “cable” companies themselves.I get 1gig Internet, cable, premium channel delivery from third parties and local dial tone — all from Grande Communications which competes viciously with Google Fiber (huge head fake thus far), ATT, TWC and others. It is all fiber optic to my house.There is very little daylight between your view and Ted Cruz’s. There is some semantic confusion as to exactly what “net neutrality” means in its application but if it stands for the promulgation of innovation and startups — then Fred Wilson and Ted Cruz agree.BTW, that speech was given at the Capital Factory in Austin which is a great incubator operation.JLM.

    1. William Mougayar

      I agree that Fred and Ted’s end-goals seem to be the same (innovation, free market should flourish, etc.), but why does one think Class II is the answer, and the other one not?Maybe a 3rd alternative ending is needed that will bring the semantics together into a common understanding.Why don’t you draft the JLM law which will bridge the gap and bring the two parties together. You have a good understanding of the common ground between the two parties.

      1. JLM

        .Know that putting the Internet under the FCC as a Class II service is all about taxing and controlling it like telecom @ 16.9%.The FCC is controlled by Obama appointees and these appointees are the ones who dreamed this phony issue up.It is all about taxes.JLM.

        1. William Mougayar

          Stop arguing, and start drafting the common elements. If you don’t want it double taxed, then don’t tax it. I’m just a 3rd party observer, and I’m seeing more common ground than differences, many of which are over semantic nuances, as you rightfully observed.

          1. pointsnfigures

            I think when it comes to Obama, it is all about taxes and control. The broader debate is about core issues that Fred and Senator Cruz identify. My gut tells me they will come to common ground somewhere if they take their time, and really listen-and problem solve.

          2. William Mougayar

            Well, if not now, when? Keep Obama out of the equation on a personal level. Just focus on the issues and come out with something that is good for the US.

          3. SubstrateUndertow

            “Obama out of the equation on a personal level”If only it were so and well it should be 🙂

          4. William Mougayar

            I was playing with my Republican friends who like to blame Obama for everything.

          5. SubstrateUndertow

            I knew that !Your reputation for consistent rationalism precedes you 🙂

  8. JLM

    .The big low hanging fruit in this debate is the certainty that anything that falls under the FCC’s purview will be taxed just like telecom — 16.9%.President Obama may pretend he is for net neutrality but he fully intends that to be delivered as a public utility under the purview of the FCC and taxed just like telecom.Remember Pres Obama appointed these knuckleheads to the FCC where his boys hold the majority and his appointees are the idiots who dreamed this faux problem up in the first place.JLM.

    1. William Mougayar

      Are you sure you’re seeing it from a taxation perspective, and not from a “free market” perspective? What if it was Class II without any added tax?

      1. JLM

        .The other public utilities — all taxed — would raise holy Hell. Wouldn’t you?Free markets have to also be fair markets.JLM.

    2. Jon Smirl

      My complaint is much more basic. I have a contract with Verizon and I am paying them for delivery of 50Mb/s Internet. They are not delivering this service and can manipulate the contract to allow them not to deliver by hiding behind “upto”. Delivering sites at 10Kb/s into my 50Mb/s pipe is not a best effort.The FCC needs to step in to force the ISPs to deliver what the consumers are paying for.In Verizon speak cars can be advertised as getting “upto” a million MPG since they can coast downhill. And then completely hide the true MPG number. Maybe the FTC should force them to advertise the true 10Kb/s I was getting in May before canceling with them.

      1. JLM

        .In my contract with Grande Communications they have to deliver 85% of nominal speed which they do. When I first signed up they came out and inventoried my installation, upgraded it and only then did they connect me to the upgraded 1gig service.They then demonstrated the actual up/down speeds. I was unable to get more than 750K because of an internal bus issue with my Dell computer but got the full 1gig with my laptop.I use various speed check sites from time to time to demonstrate to myself that I’m getting what I’m paying for.Incidentally, when I got my new bundle my cost went DOWN $10/month.I am pretty damn happy with my current situation and didn’t have to wait for Google Fiber (head fake), ATT or TWC to make it happen.JLM.

        1. Jon Smirl

          You have an honest Internet vendor. I am stuck with duopoly ISPs who seem to think that it is OK for them to auction off my ability to access websites to the the highest bidder. BTW – I’m the one paying for this and I really don’t like my Internet access being manipulated by my ISP. I am paying for Internet access and I want Comcast/Verizon to deliver it without interference.

          1. JLM

            .Of course, I do live in Texas even though it is the People’s Republic of Austin.JLM.

          2. Amar

            Hah I moved from central to North Austin. Grande went away and my only option now is TWC. *sigh*.. i wish i had more choice.

          3. JLM

            .Amar, Grande stayed. Lovely Grande never leaves.You, Amar, you abandoned Grande and you are paying the price for your disloyalty though your rent probably went down, no?I remember when my 1gig service went live. Wow! And the total monthly cost went down $10/month.Is this a great country or what? Is the ATX the greatest place on Earth or what?JLM.

          4. Amar

            Well yes on the greatest place, Duh! 🙂 (except for the effing Cedar).Do you have any pull with Grande? Can you coax them to move towards the Great Hills area. I used to be in Rosedale … then the family grew and yeah it was more practical to move a wee bit north.Do I have to get them 25 customers? What do I have to do to get Grande to give me the 1gig crack I so badly crave?

          5. JLM

            .I would give them a call and see what they say also check with Google Fiber, ATT and TWC for 1 gig service. It is a game changer.JLM.

        2. JoshGrot

          Agreed with Jon…and envious of your situation, JLM…most of us don’t have the choice.

    3. Tom Bakalis

      Agreed. In a previous post I had asked why Obama had appointed a telco lobbyist as FCC head. I think people are starting to see this is about money (tax). How many people are happy with the way they are treated by the other utilities they have to deal with? Utility status give power to companies to act in a monopolistic fashion. Will enterprise and entrepreneurship be able to counteract this? I’m not so sure.

  9. OurielOhayon

    Fred, the internet has no monopolies but has gatekeepers than can make or break virtually any startup. Those are the new “monopolies” against which the tech ecosystem has little or no leverage. Apple or Google can decide which app gets out or in, or featured or not. Facebook and Google can tweak their algorithm or terms of services and ruin any business because they are at the source of so much traffic.This is the new David vs Goliath. The tension between platforms which have their own “rules” and the ecosystem of developers who depend on them. Platforms need developers but when the developers get to close to the sun they may get burnt (games, ad tech companies, apps, news business,…)Important to not remember in this debate of “internet justice”

    1. fredwilson

      true. app stores are to some extent gatekeepers. but if you look at certain categories, like social networking, the leaderboards are full of apps that get their from network effects, not placement on the leaderboards

      1. OurielOhayon

        Correct. They are enablers as well as gatekeepers. remember to what happened to zynga? Also see the power that has amazon on manufacturers. the line between enablement and destruction is thin and gray because can change any time

        1. LE

          see the power that has amazon on manufacturers.Like Walmart which was able to speed the adoption of bar codes by requiring them on vendors packaging. (Among other power that they have as a result of their buying power).

      2. Gregory Magarshak

        Are you ever worried that the apps carry a large risk of being pulled at any time?Kindle was able to snatch books you already bought and refund you. iPhone is technologically able to do that. At the very least the next iOS may break your app and Apple won’t allow an update.Google Maps might decide to cut off Foursquare (they switched to OSM). Amazon Web Services might decide to pressure Netflix when renewing their contract.Just an honest question … since you fund these companies. How do you evaluate the risk of getting “too big and inconvenient”?

      3. kidmercury

        And to an even greater extent you have app and media companies that have built empires without preferential placement from telcos

    2. awaldstein

      Well said but to add some nuanceIt is completely whacko to have a customer acquisition strategy that depends on the reach of FB or natural search from GoogleA decade ago for Google sure, crazy and unfundable today.An example please of an app that couldn’t get into either store because of the competitive nature against the store owner?You are correct in concept perhaps but these examples are not where the rubber meets the road in my experience.

      1. OurielOhayon

        Dashboard apps for example. Or widgets with recent ios8 or app discovery and I pass you the behind the scene many players in the music space have with apple to get their app approved. On Facebook remember zynga and cross promotion networks? Want example for google and search ? You know how many price comparison engines have been killed ?

  10. William Mougayar

    Naive question: what if there was “no physical last mile”? What if that last mile was provided over the air at blazing speeds that don’t need fiber optic digging bottlenecks? I used to have a WiMAX (also called fixed wireless), and was happy with it, but speeds didn’t improve.We can land on a comet, but why can’t we provide fast Internet speeds over the air, around a 10 mile radius?

    1. awaldstein

      Has to happen.Digging up streets is simply an economic impossibility.

      1. William Mougayar

        exactly. that bottleneck has been totally overlooked I think.Digging is good for providing electricity because poles will get affected during a storm (tell me about it), but there is no reason that Internet access should depend on digging.

        1. awaldstein

          Digging in places like NYC or SF or Paris or London–forget Tokyo are just not possible.It took 6 years–yes that is right–to replace some pipes on 7 blocks of Chambers Street.

          1. Anne Libby

            More than that — they were telling businesses on the block about it in 2003.

          2. LE

            Agree. In the 80’s to this day I never forget that it seemed like there was a jackhammer on Third St. (Philly) every day of my life there. I’d be sitting in my office and they were jackhammering something. That’s been replace by leaf blowers where I am now and edgers. But at least now I have a nifty pair of tarmac earmuffs from 3M to block out the noise. Work very well.

    2. Kirsten Lambertsen

      That was my first thought, too.

    3. scottythebody

      It’s 100% doable and inevitable, actually.

    4. Richard

      Let’s not take our eyes off the real ball and that’s mobile. I pay $200/month for mobile access and $80/month for cable internet access. 90% of my consumption is via mobile. Let’s get more competition in mobile.

      1. William Mougayar

        Exactly. Who is the Elon Musk of mobile / over the air access.

        1. Dino

          Masayoshi son

          1. William Mougayar

            Could you elaborate pls?

        2. LE

          Musk, or people like Musk, are solving problems that they personally find interesting and challenging. Things that are parties in their brain. That the average person doesn’t care about. For example I don’t personally give a shit about what he is doing with rockets and outer space. [1] Doesn’t make a difference in my life at all. Nor do I care about his electric car initiative. I’ve got real things to worry about not things that are down the road at some point that might matter. He can cloak it as much as he wants in “save the planet” but it’s all about keeping himself amused.[1] Or Richard Branson and his ultimate vacation. Because there aren’t enough places on this earth for the average person to visit and enjoy themselves they need to risk their fucking life going into outer space. Imagine how unhappy that guy must be with what he has in order to have to dream up shit like that to make it through the day and keep himself from getting bored. What a curse that is.

          1. Anthony Albertorio

            Who wants to work on boring uninteresting projects? If Elon Musk, or people like him can do so, they should. It’s a waste for society if say he’d gone the conventional route and became a lumberjack, or whatever.If it were left up the average person, we’d be still riding on the back of horse buggies, riding sail boats instead of flying on planes, and communicating thru regular mail. The steam engine and the industrial revolution would have never happened if it weren’t for people doing uncommon things which may not have an immediate effect on humanity. Number Theory, considered useless by its inventor when first conceived, has turned out to be extremely useful for the development of the internet.It’s people like a Elon Musk who push humanity forward. In Musk’s case in a very literal way. Heck, the reason you can use a cellphone and farmers who supply your food can accurate weather reports is because of satellites economically (relatively speaking) sent up to space.

          2. LE

            Number Theory, considered useless by its inventor when first conceived, has turned out to be extremely useful for the development of the internet.Have there been any studies on the “theories considered useless by inventor” (or otherwise) that were in fact “useless”. How many?This is the old “IBM passed on the opportunity to market a copier” or “HP passed on Woz’s idea” without regard to the 10,000 other things they also passed on. You know the terrorist only has to be right one because of satellites economically (relatively speaking) sent up to space.You can thank the Russian threat for that. Likewise you can thank aggressive men and the need for military might for many of the things we find useful today. Not entrepreneurs. They came afterwords. Really scientists (in some cases working for Bell Labs) who had to find some way to solve a problem that the military needed to solve. All funded by the government and a monopoly utility. (Transistor and many other things..)Edit: Another example is our interstate highway system had side benefit but came as a result of a military purpose.

          3. SubstrateUndertow

            It is the spin off knowledge that end up effect our lives and that is most often unknowable up front !

          4. Dave W Baldwin

            I wouldn’t put Musk and Branson on the same block.1) I was worried over Branson and Virgin Galactic back when they cancelled that show due to wind instead of postpone. What happened is sad and at this point I think more oversight is needed.2) With Musk, I wish he’d stop talking about heavier AI when he doesn’t understand it. OTOH, he builds the carrier to deliver goods to the space station for a fee and performs the service. He will go after satellites and, better yet, I bet he’s looking to perform services for companies like Planetary Resources. The next 5-10 will get interesting.BTW @markcuban:disqus I’d consider putting some money in Planetary Resources. When I get the time over then next week or two, I’m going to be looking at the details.

        3. Anthony Albertorio

          Check out this company called outernet.isWith enough financing this company or start ups like this will be able to put up Cubesats in space with the eventual goal of by passing the need for cable or even your local mobile phone company. The ever lowering costs of launches from SpaceX and cheap high powered Cubesats from various providers are coming together to open the possibility of break away from rent seeking quasi monopolistic companies.Outernet specifically is starting off with the noble goal of creating an uncensored, unrestricted global public library accessible from anywhere in the world. This company is worth looking into.

          1. William Mougayar

            I saw their crowdfunding campaign this week actually, but it’s still using the same Internet pipes, no? Are u involved with them & did u buy one?

    5. Matt Zagaja

      Wireless is convenient but the reliability just doesn’t seem to be there. I’ve never had a WiFi network that I have not experienced drop-outs on.

      1. William Mougayar

        Hmm. And they were able to control that thing in space over several years and make it land & send pictures? I want space technology in my living room.

        1. Chimpwithcans

          Let’s hope you don’t have to move to a comet!

    6. andyswan

      I don’t know who it is but it sure as hell isn’t Uncle Sam

      1. LE

        Obligatory posting of “who’s we sucka” from Dirty Harry.Separately I can’t wait until I can pay $10 per month and avoid the youtube ads. I want that so bad I can taste it. I just had to endure two 30 second commercials to make sure I had the right clip.

        1. Dave W Baldwin

          put money on developing less intruding of ad. YouTube should’ve already been on that.

          1. LE

            Maybe. But listen there are many things that you pay for so you don’t have to listen to advertising.You don’t get a discount at the restaurant in return for hearing a pitch for some product before you eat. [1] At all. Even one that is less intrusive.Otoh some delis and smaller eaterys give you these non intrusive placemats that are filled with ads. Those are actually a benefit to those considered “the dining dead”… that is people who don’t typically talk while waiting for their food or eating.I have no expectation of free being a basic right. I don’t mind paying for something of value that I get.[1] Drug companies are famous for giving doctors free meals in exchange for hearing a drug pitch. Financial advisers do this as well with older folk. And of course there are the timeshare pitches at resorts.

    7. LE

      We can land on a comet, but why can’t we provide fast Internet speeds over the air, around a 10 mile radius?The “we” in that statement like the “we” in “we can land on the moon” is the government of course. That is generally the US Government (except the comet wasn’t right?).

      1. William Mougayar

        But space technology later finds its way into the consumer markets, no?

    8. JoshGrot

      Naive question to the naive question — to the extent that mobile solutions rely on the utilization of spectrum auctioned by the government to the highest bidder, won’t mobile inevitably result in the same choke point as has happened with wireline solutions?Or is the presumption that if a reliable and competitive mobile solution is made available as an alternative to wireline solutions, the Net Neutrality issue fades away?

    9. ShanaC


  11. PhilipSugar

    What bothers me most is you can tell by his tone, if Obama thinks its right it must be wrong.This goes the other way as well.But it doesn’t play as well for Republicans because somehow Democrats have scoped out the intellectual high ground on several topics.So what happens is Republicans end up looking like intellectual rubes.When you benefit from the government, via the Federal Reserve or in this case monopoly rights, you need to be regulated.When it is a social issue like gay marriage where there is no benefit granted by the government you don’t.

    1. Richard

      The problem is that any decision coming from one man that effects 300 million is problematic.

    2. pointsnfigures

      I think that there are several good intellectual arguments that people like Andy Kessler made in the WSJ that would support Cruz view. I agree, this shouldn’t be a us vs them issue–but at the same time Obama said something and said nothing. The devil is in the details of how the regs are written-and before one reg is written we ought to have a very healthy transparent debate and understand all the economics around the issue.Remember too that the economics can change as tech changes. As others have pointed out, what if we access the internet in a totally different way and strips existing incumbents of any advantage?

    3. timshel

      “…a social issue like gay marriage where there is no benefit granted by the government..”The state provides benefits (at **very** least in the form of protections) to married couples it does not provide to unmarried couples.

      1. SubstrateUndertow

        WRONG!No new benefits are granted just unconstitutional exclusions of existing benefits are terminated.There is a difference!

  12. Robert Heiblim

    Hi Fred, thank you so much for joining this fight. You are correct that it is a matter of freedom and access. Without that, the natural imperative for profit will end up causing these same few entities to charge at the gate. This will of course lead to limitation and favor incumbents and well funded competitors. Innovation requires access and this is why this is such a fundamental issue. I will also keep speaking to representatives and anyone who will listen. This will take a lot of people keeping up a lot of pressure, as the benefits of the incumbents will also keep them spending and talking to the same folks. Game on, and we need to win.

  13. Gregory Magarshak

    Very well put, Fred. But I think this goes deeper than that. The Cable providers have now merged with the Telcos, and just like the mergers in the banking industry it creates a very top-down structure in how things are run. These *are* the gatekeepers for our internet today, and we’ve become ever more reliant on the internet for communication. The central problem, in my opinion, is centralization. (No pun intended.)In 2002 the FCC changed the classification to (in their words) “promote broadband deployment, which should result in better quality, lower prices and more choices for consumers”…This wasn’t done under Tom Wheeler, but under Michael Powell, both of which are involved in a revolving door with the National Cable and Telecom Association. We’ve allowed the deregulation to happen in return for quicker progress. In short, we’ve allowed a few national telecoms access to build the last mile in exchange for deregulation, by putting NCTA presidents in charge of the FCC. Didn’t we see something similar at the SEC in 2008? And none of those things were fixed:…If we’re going to appoint CEOs and Presidents heading special interest groups to head a public agency and work for the public interest, then we should at least let the people have an alternative mechanism for building their infrastructure. Take a look at the Google Fiber for City Checklist:…Here, cities — which are smaller communities and ostensibly more locally aware and in touch with their electorate — can work with corporations to leverage the infrastructure *they already built* and improve internet access. Google is one of those companies that wants the internet to go faster, and doesn’t necessarily need to extract profits from Google Fiber — but instead, like the Nexus One, it wants to spur on further development in municipal fiber.The policies of the Federal government are not anymore influenced much by the People, as you can see in the Princeton study… as well as in the simple fact that 95% of Congress got re-elected after enjoying a 14% approval rating just prior to the election.But just to be fair to Wheeler, he’s actually rather balanced. Many state legislators are planning to join the telcos in *suing the cities* to restrict them from building municipal broadband. And Wheeler is siding with the cities against the states on that one.http://www.nationaljournal….

  14. LE

    1) cable operators were given local monopolies ….2) cable operators leveraged this last mile monopoly to determine …3) cable operators often required large free slugs of equity in the cable channels ….Except that you are compressing time a bit here.Charles Dolan won the franchise in NYC in 1965 and Comcast was founded in 1963. (For example).HBO began operation in 1972 and didn’t go full time until 1981. And lost money. So it seems that there was a very long period of time where those monoplies weren’t worth much and were quite a gamble.Links below. However I’m not discounting the fact that the wiki pages might have been re-written in order to achieve a particular political goal. But what I do know is that rolling out a cable system at the start was quite a gamble and not a guarantee of riches by any means. The purpose was to give TV service in places that couldn’t get over the air TV not to profit by offering specialized programming.

  15. pointsnfigures

    I want a very robust discussion before anyone regulates, and glad you are eager to participate on the other side of the aisle. I don’t want to see the internet regulated like a utility. It is not a utility. I also don’t want to see the internet become cable tv. At the same time, we are getting closer and closer to being able to use technology to cut the cord-and cut them out.

  16. JimHirshfield

    Fred & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, preferable to the sequel: Fred & Ted’s Bogus Journey.(Fred cast as Keanu FTW)

  17. JimHirshfield

    Footnote: David slew Goliath.

  18. andyswan

    With NN you’ll end up with a govt “solution” (which WILL expand into control/tax/control) to an outdated problem.”They control content distribution because people used to dig cable lines to every house!?!?”The idea that NN is “a conservative idea” is preposterous. Conservatives DO NOT SUPPORT federal regulations to solve local, predicted problems.

  19. Morgan Warstler

    Fred, you have gone off the deep end:”sponsored bandwidth, aka zero rating, is a really bad thing. that’s why the president’s comments about including wireless in the net neutrality rules is such a good thing”You should discuss this publicly, so everybody knows what you really mean – if you don’t pay for bandwidth you can’t use modern technology in Fred’s future world.

    1. SubstrateUndertow

      And who exactly do you think pays for sponsored “anything” at the end of the day ?They is no free lunch just like there is no perpetual motion machine.

    2. kidmercury

      It is to humorous that people who want others to pay for healthcare (the rationale, however illogical, for obamacare) don’t want others to pay for Internet access — while arguing that internet access is as vital and universally deserved as healthcare! !! Lol

  20. markcuban

    Come on fred. Cable companies started as analog. They were held back from going digital more quickly because people still watch TV and they had to support old stb. It wasn’t a binary go all in for digital or notAnd as far as 1k channels are you saying more linear is better than the thousands of hours of HD on demand content they offer to tv viewers ? Or for the remote dvrs coming online ?Consumption of on demand and dvr viewing is growing faster than internet viewing of long firm content. Or did you not notice that side of the equation. People do watch far more digital tv than they do internet video. By a long shotAnd you seem to forget that the internet was designed for everything but video. But that’s a topic for another time.If you want to discuss the openness of the net you have to take out netflix. That’s one company the discussion of the open internet can’t be built around one company (disclosure I own a lot oc nflx stock and do quite a bit of business with )Go back to pre netflix streaming, 2007 discussions of net neutrality the argument was exactly the same. The big bad ISPs were going to create fast lanes (which they did, for VOIP but no one complained ) That they were going to throttle the internet and slow down websites. Something that didn’t happen. And the internet was quickly going to hell in a handbasket for the exact same reasons you mention in your blogExcept it didn’t happenInstead we saw netflix explode from nothing to more than 30pct of prime time bandwidth. How did ISPS respond ? They built and built. They invested in new tech to the point where not only did netflix grow to HD , they are now introducing 4k and of course we can now regularly stream to our phones. Something that wasn’t easy or obvious 8 years agoThE isps are far from perfect but you know what else is far from perfect ? Government regulation. Title 2 to be specificYou appear to want to introduce more regulation to try to anticipate what ISPs might doI can tell you one certainty , unless any net neutrality has a very short sunset , the law of unintended consequences will be far more detrimental to the open internet than the risk of throttling

    1. William Mougayar

      But how do we stop the cable cos/ISP from taking content hostage? There are 2 issues here: 1) Internet access 2) Content access.Digital content wants to spread its wings beyond squeezing via the cable pipes.

      1. markcuban

        How do you stop them from planting stink bombs in their set top boxes. Or from spying on you from them. They haven’t done it yet. Why would they startIf it’s such a risk why is everyone and their brother starting content sites.How did the cloud computing business thriveWhy would anyone build self driving carsThat’s like saying airless charging stations are going to get paid by ford to not charge tesla cars as well

        1. William Mougayar

          What if the NBA forced you to play in their arenas only?

          1. markcuban

            They do

          2. William Mougayar

            They own them?

          3. William Mougayar

            But they don’t own them.

          4. Vineeth Kariappa

            The teams are franchises. Everything is owned by the NBA.

          5. William Mougayar

            The arenas are typically owned by the teams, cities or private companies, but not the NBA itself.

          6. Vineeth Kariappa

            LA Clippers owner had to sell because NBA did not want him. NBA owns the teams. What the team owns, they own.Very few owners (3 or 4) “own” the stadiums (separately), not as part of the “team”. Guessing, they lease it back to the team. The others get it from the city as the city expects it to bring revenue. The team pays the city rent/ lease. Ultimately the NBA, has to approve everything.

          7. William Mougayar

            But the NBA doesn’t build arenas and force teams to play in them & pockets most revenues & decides what % to give back.

          8. Vineeth Kariappa

            From what I know of Franchise sports teams, a bit worse; they don’t build the arena, but they control the bulk of the revenue (broadcast) and they do decide who gets what %.But, I do not own a team :), yet.

        2. ShanaC

          Most people do so and then abandon -because most people are bad at quantify the risks involving content.Actually, most people are bad with risk in general.Many people can grow corn (it costs about $10 for seeds for home gardeners –… ) They probably can grow more than they can eat.This doesn’t mean they understand the risks of trying to sell it, and should therefore try hedging their risks in the corn futures market.It is even worse with content: Most people can read and write – but scaling content’s audience, and then packaging its data in a way that it monetizable for advertisers is not the same thing as reading and writing, and bears significant risks

        3. Stranger in the Alps

          There’s no financial incentive to plant stink bombs. There is a TON of financial incentive to cut exclusive deals with content providers, or to throttle the bandwidth of sites that compete with their subsidiaries. With ISPs, we’re not talking about a functioning free market. We’re talking about a natural monopoly (or duopoly if you’re lucky). Government regulation is the only way to prevent abuse.

      2. markcuban

        It does and has. If the risk was real why would so many content companies start up and others be acquired ? Are they all stupid ?

        1. William Mougayar

          Sorry I’m not following re: content companies getting acquired. What are some examples?

          1. Richard

            Tumblr, Yammer, Vine ….

          2. William Mougayar

            I thought we were discussing media/video content like live events, series, documentaries, movies, ie traditional TV/cable content.

      3. Vineeth Kariappa

        Why are “internet companies” considered david? they have abt 3x times cash than cable.

      4. Walt French

        There are three basic approaches that *I* know of:1. Regulation. Over my lifetime, rules have morphed quite a bit, so I don’t worry too much about them becoming ossified around 1990s technology and standards.2. free markets. As Fred says, very few markets are actually competitive enough to qualify as “freely” competing.3. Wait, perhaps a decade or more, for markets to become sufficiently unaware of competition, that a disruptor can come in and undercut the economics with some new technology or business model.I think we all favor #2, but many of us can’t see how it happens. #3 seems like it’s next-worse, so we’d better fire up our skills to make #1, sensible regulation, work. Right now, we’re trying to solve Net Neutrality through regulation, and it’s a very difficult problem to define it. Perhaps if we solve the problem of perverse financial incentives, we’ll see that competitive ISPs and cable companies have no reason to shut down the next Youtube etc.

    2. Salt Shaker

      “You appear to want to introduce more regulation to try to anticipate what ISPs might do”Let’s get real here. The outward trend for cable companies isn’t particularly rosey. They continue to lose subs qtr-to-qtr and this cord cutting trend will only escalate w/ “over the top” services. Cable will inevitably become mature businesses in dire need of incremental rev streams. Broadband is their bread and butter and to extract as much rev they’re gonna slice and dice just like an 80’s infomercial or carve their offerings like next week’s turkey. In fact, I’m quite certain “gobble, gobble” will be their mantra. Without (content side) regulation there’s no protection, and to assume that ISP’s won’t be heading down this path is frankly a bit naive.P.S. Buy the Jets, will ya, we need new ownership. I’d prefer the Knicks, but you’re a bit encumbered in that space.P.P.S. How can I get me one of those bacon alarm clocks?

    3. JLM

      .There were no big discussions about net neutrality in 2007. The FCC didn’t take it up and the ISPs did whatever they wanted. This entire mess is caused by recent Obama appointees to the FCC and nobody else.Remember this is a bunch of people who put a $0.15/tree “fee” on Christmas tree sales while artificial tree sales have skyrocketed by almost 700%. The fee is effective this year.These guys love taxes and are slavering at the possibility of getting sales taxes and telecom taxes (16.9%) if regulated as a utility.JLM.

      1. Vineeth Kariappa

        They do not have an option. The country is in debt. Alternatives are China or Saudi owing the USA.

        1. JLM

          .US Federal receipts are at a historic high — ALL TIME HIGH. If the Congress would simply restrain the RATE of growth, not actually reduce spending God forbid, the budget would balance itself in less than four years.If we turned loose the entire country to explore, produce, refine — we’d be energy independent in three years.A sound fiscal house with energy independence and the ugly America would be uglier even more.JLM.

          1. Vineeth Kariappa

            Approx rate of Shale oil; abt 70$ (read it on bloomberg), Saudi supposedly crashed the rate to keep US from getting more oil.Plus, 17 trillion debt, and increasing;

          2. sigmaalgebra

            There’s also a claim that the US askedthe Saudis to lower the prices to put pressure on Russia and Iran,My guess is that the prices went downbecause too many people were concernedwith the threat of flying pigs. Then the onlypart I don’t yet understand is what oilprices have to do with flying pigs, butI’m eager to learn!

          3. Vineeth Kariappa

            When u find out, do tell me.

          4. Tom Labus

            But why do you think a GOP Congress or Admin would be fiscally responsible? When were they ever in the past?

          5. JLM

            .You will get little argument from me on this point — Mitch McConnell is a fiscal pig as bad as Harry Reid in my book.Newt Gingrich did a pretty good job of controlling spending.The truly sad thing is that only the RATE of growth has to be controlled to balance the books. If the Republicans fail to pass a balanced budget bill or amendment then all is lost.US Treasury receipts are at an ALL TIME HIGH right now. A bit of restraint will let the books balance themselves.JLM.

          6. SubstrateUndertow

            High real inflation, poor distribution of wealth/education, offshoring production, excessive war expenses, unfunded tax cuts, banking/stock-market corruption, excessive military spending, extortive heath-care system and big-pharma wealth extraction are just some of the interdependent items you are conflating as solvable simple via an “ALL TIME HIGH” US Treasury receipts.If only the solution was that linear !

          7. JLM

            .One has to start somewhere, no?To miss the opportunity to balance the bottom line is regrettable. Once the bottom line is balanced — if not before — the individual line items can be addressed.If the bottom line is NOT balanced then the entire debate becomes about the bottom line itself rather than some of the issues you identify.We have to start somewhere. The truth of the matter is that the entire national debt can be repaid fairly easily if we can get our spending in order.JLM.

    4. SubstrateUndertow

      That is one long list of conflated perspectives !

    5. fredwilson

      hi mark. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your views. I really appreciate it. I’m not entirely sure I understand your arguments about cable TV vs Web TV but I’m not really concerned with Netflix. They are a gigantic company (as Ted Cruz calls them). I’m concerned about the next YouTube or Twitch that comes along and can’t compete with Netflix and YouTube because they can’t afford to pay for prioritizationYou and I have benefitted from the era of “permissionless innovation” that has existed in the Internet for the past 20 years. I just want to make sure the next generation enjoys the benefits of that as we have

      1. markcuban

        Thanks Fred. If you want the most open internet possible , with the greatest opportunity for startups, then the threat of title2 or 706 classification will be a far greater deterent than any rule making by the FCCOnce rules are written, the lawsuits will start the battle over how to interpret them Which will probably take years once there is uncertainty regarding exactly how those rules apply to new technologies and the companies that create them , the incumbents will sue because they believed the rules to mean one thing based on precedent and they want the upstarts playing by the same rulesLook at copyright laws for an example. Ask aereo what they went through. Look at the remote dvr. All common sense enhancements uses of new technology that benefitted only lawyersLook at patent lawIs there any reason to believe it would be any different with FCC rules ? The FCC isn’t certain about their position today. Do you think there will be some Devine clarity that precludes years of lawsuits ?The FCC can’t and won’t protect the companies you want to protect unless they get very lucky, but they certainly can make their lives miserable and put a serious hurt on innovationM

        1. fredwilson

          that sounds like an argument for no lawsis that what you are suggesting?

          1. markcuban

            Come on fred. How it the threat of an application of a law even remotely an argument for no laws?What am I missing

          2. kidmercury

            Def siding with mark in this beef

          3. fredwilson


          4. kenberger

            I’m def more torn than i’ve even been on this blog.Thought NN was a no-brainer, but Cuban, JLM, and you and others make some good counter-points here today, especially around de jure vs de facto concepts.

          5. fredwilson

            the debate is not whether we like the concept. the debate is how you insure it happens.

          6. kenberger

            exactly. Which is why these “sides of beef” are irrelevant !

        2. JamesHRH

          I do not agree with Fred about CableCos ‘taking slug of free equity’. They were there, Malone et al, horse trading like crazy. Kind of like a VC who invests professionally and personally in a startup he think is a big winner.When a startup says “Comcast just told me its going to cost me to access their customer base.;, Fred has an argument.When Telus – I’m a Canuck – asks me ‘how fast would you like your internet to go?’ Fred has no argument.I still haven’t heard anyone say the first thing. I have never heard anyone complain about paying a premium for the second.98% of things that people worry about never come to be,

          1. Nick Grossman

            I think #2 (“going to cost me to reach their customer base”) is the real issue.Perhaps the most concrete example of this is “zero rating” — where data-heavy applications (music, video) that cut a deal with the carrier can get free data throughput, while other indie apps can’t. This is concrete and real now.On #3 (how fast would you like your internet — as a consumer) — I don’t think anyone is arguing that telcos/ISPs charging their customers for more data/speed is a problem. This aligns incentives and keeps the playing field level.

          2. JamesHRH

            I think that a bit-heavy service like NetFlix just falls into a classification of investment that is labelled capital intensive.

          3. Ciaran

            Ben Thompson makes a good case that the likes of Netflix definitely wouldn’t be in favour of the latter:…”That leaves unlimited access on the chopping block. While I love the idea of unlimited data, I also am aware that nothing comes for free; in the case of unlimited data, the cost we are paying is underinvestment and/or discriminatory treatment of data. Therefore I believe the best approach to broadband is usage-based payment by both upstream and downstream, with no payments in the middle.The way this would have played out in the case of Netflix is that:Netflix would pay more at the point of origin to compensate backbone providers for the massive amount of data they generateISP customers who watch the most video would pay moreIt’s the latter result that terrifies Netflix, and is why, in the end, they are not an ally of those of us who desire true net neutrality. Currently non-Netflix broadband subscribers are effectively subsidizing Netflix viewers; they use much less capacity, yet pay the same price. This needs to change for the sake of true net neutrality, and if it results in Netflix losing subscribers, so be it.”

          4. Nick Grossman

            Yeah I think about that article a lotIt makes sense to me that usage based pricing is the simplest and fairest way to do thisI also worry that the market for access is not sufficiently competitive to keep those prices from getting out if hand.– on the fly

        3. Mark Gavagan

          Mark,Aereo* shot themselves in the foot by not delaying their time-shifting feature until after they successfully overcame legal challenges on live-streaming.Live streaming to users who live in locations eligible to receive those same over-the-air broadcasts is a “common sense enhancement” that doesn’t infringe on broadcasters’ rights.Time-shifting is a terrific feature, but much more open to debate.*Aereo subscribers could view live & time-shifted streams of over-the-air television on Internet-connected devices, provided they lived in locations that were eligible to receive those same over-the-air broadcasts.

        4. Nick Grossman

          Hi Mark. (btw i am a big fan and always appreciate your strongly held opinions. i work with Fred at USV).I think I can say that most of us who favor open internet rules are worried about the unintended consequences of any regulations, so we’re not venturing into this debate lightly.I am curious to know if you think the basic idea of internet freedom (open access to the the internet without blocking/throttling/prioritization) is a good thing, and your concern is just w the dangers of potentially broader rules under title II.Seems like that’s what you’re saying w “then the threat of title2 or 706 classification will be a far greater deterent than any rule making by the FCC”.Do you have a sense of how to apply that threat?Also curious: do you see the comcast / TWC merger as a threat to startups on the internet? Many folks who support open access to the internet but dislike FCC regs point to competition as a more important vector.

          1. markcuban

            Working backwards , i see the two merger as a positive for startups. We need a national network(or 70pct coverage that the merger will provide ) startups suffer from haVing to deal with multiple networks. Plus Google has announced fiber will go national I like having a competitor in place. Particularly since Google play controls half the on ramp to wireless appsWhich will be huge as 5g starts to appear in the next decade and the discussion turns to cutting the wired broadband coRdAs far as the threat of title 2 706, you don’t have to do anything. Politicians and NN advocates will always do exactly what y I u are doing now. Threatening. ThE only way that goes away is if NN rules are put in place. Then the argument moves to the courts where the big guys are better than your guys. Remember it was a verizon lawsuit that pushed the NN argument to the forefront againAs far as whether I think the open internet with out blocking throttling priortization is a good thing and the answer is as followaThose are all non issues as long as the market stays with in the current regulationsThe idea that how networks dealt with the bandwidth of a company that went from nothing but dvds in the mail to 30pct of prime time bandwidth is a proxy for what they will do for consumers , startups and small biz is ridiculous.Where ever you come out on how they dealt with netflix and level and cogent and peering , the reality is that a service streaming, that requires continuoua through put went from nothing to dominating network throughout and the networks built out to the point that not only has netflix thrived , they went from SD to HD to 4d that’s not a problem that is amazing and anyone who is honest about it has to agreeBut wait there is moreNetworksz Comcast in particular when they tried to throttle a protocol that has minimal at beSt legal usage, they were quicklybprevented from doing so under current rules.We have also seen new codecs, protocols and standards introduced. NetFlIx and others will soon introduce h265 wwhich could cut the bits for a movie in half. All without limitsAnd we will see new transport protocols and standards. All with current regulations.Introduce new regulations and who knowsAnd let’s look at places where the networks have good bread on to throttle or block. Porn, copyright and illegal downloading sites and sites that host things like beheadings and other grotesque media They have done nothing. And where they tried they failedBut you know who has had some success ? The government. They have tried to close down illegal sites ? The government. The collaferal damage for sites that shou k d not have been shut down but were has been signIficantI’m good with the ways things areIm not good with the certainty of. however net neutrality ends up being defined and which of the title 2 of 706 rules fhey try to implement, they all will be tried in court for years and yearsThe same fcc that decided it was a good idea to litigate indecency laws over a wardrobe malfunction all the way to the Supreme Court is going to be responsible for defining and protecting the netI will pass on the fcc trying to do more and bet on innovation finding solutions to your fears, SHOULD they occur

          2. Nick Grossman

            You make an interesting point that no rules / the threat of rules may be more effective than actual rules — in that it shifts the arguments from the court of public opinion (where the internet has an advantage) to the actual courts (where the bigcos do)I am not sure I understand your point about the mergers — I don’t see how it’s better for startups to deal with one large comcast rather than two smaller (but still huge) ISPs. Research has shown that the more subscribers an ISP has, the more likely they are to charge for access to their users — this was the case with netflix.The other thing worth pointing out is that these rules wouldn’t be “new” regulations, they would simply be codifying the rules that have always been in place. First, the ISPs didn’t have the technical ability to discriminate, then the previous open internet rules prevented it.So, with the verizon case vacating the legal basis for the 2010 rules (which relied on 706 instead of title II), we are now entering the a new era.So when you say “I’m good w the way things are” — the way things are is having rules in place preventing blocking/throttling/prioritization. The proposed open internet rules are about making sure things stay that way.That’s an important and often misunderstood point.I do, however, very much appreciate the threat of giving the government more unchecked power (which has caused major problems for the internet in the DOJ).But my understanding is that we’re talking about taking the minimum possible steps to keep the internet working the way it does. See more at…Also, another good one on the subject:

      2. Gregory Magarshak

        Fred I normally agree but “Net Neutrality” sounds like a marketing term for reclassifying the internet as Title 2. Most of the broadband expansion in the US did in fact happen when the FCC reclassified it in 2002. So the regulatory regime has already allowed “permissionless innovation”. And Net Neutrality is only about the last mile Netflix has peering agreements with Tier I providers.If anything, the real problem is the monopolies and feudalism we have for the things that we rely on. Apple’s App Store. Google’s Play Store. Amazon. And now that the cable companies and telcos have merged we have essentially a duopoly, as the FCC itself admits. A duopoly in INTERNET ACCESS, something so basic the UN called it a “human right”.What we should really be doing is encouraging competition in internet providers, app stores and other things. For a long time Apple allowed only authenticating with Twitter (yay USV btw 🙂 and then integrated Facebook. Only with iOS 8 did they let everyone else integrate their own ways to share, and STILL we can only oauth with Twitter and Facebook. What about all those gatekeepers for new apps? It’s much more likely to be told by Apple that your app is being taken off their platform, why aren’t we worried about that?The internet was originally about being decentralized, with no single points of failure. All these massive centralizations are abberations that will eventually decentralize. Until then, there will be a lot of political wrangling about one-size-fits-all rulemaking.

        1. markcuban


          1. Gregory Magarshak

            Mark I’m admittedly biased, since my company’s working on eventually decentralizing social networking and letting people own their own data again. But yeah, I think that “feudalism” on the internet is a problem.PS: I’m a fan of what you did with Audionet/Broadcast . I have been meaning to approach you and show you what we’ve been working on, but I admit I don’t know much about how you prefer to meet entrepreneurs (besides Shark Tank). What’s the best way to set up a meeting just to show you what we’ve developed?(At the risk of sounding presumptuous, here is my contact info: … in case you want to talk more about it but not on a public forum.)

        2. Jeff Jockisch

          You make a strong argument about “monopolies and feudalism.” These strongholds and siloes are artificial barriers erected to extract value and reduce competition.That doesn’t dissuade me that net neutrality is the Valhalla we need, but it does raise the same valid point markcuban makes about the appropriate mechanism.

    6. dave

      Clecs were at one time allowed (internet1.0 ) to use incumbent lines to compete and theoretically were in place to keep markets competitive. What happen? Not much…In fact I remember having one incumbent cos. technician come to add (yes add) a phone line to my home office, and while on the service call, I saw him cut the lines I had for SDSL service !! ( when I complained because I saw and knew exactly what he was doing, the tech pleaded for me not to call it in, because his incentives were aligned somehow… and this was not an isolated case). And while not a main cause of failure, it sure didnt help these start up companies to compete against the incumbents. We all know how that endedIts the true, rare, upstart that can ever compete against any monopoly power and money with unlimited access and endless runways granted by govt.And i think everybody can agree we need more upstarts to succeed, and on a large scale, for the US to remain competitive in the long run. And with some oversight transparency and trust – that will assure anyone can use the internet equally–it just might make the difference to make it. (against all odds.)And if start ups are benefiting from keeping level and open roadways, you can be sure that the deep pocketed incumbents will have the same opportunity to profit as well… the real question is, if they do not, will they be allowed to fail -like the start ups in question?when I see two very intelligent , but opposing perspectives, I try to understand and learn from their models as i understand them to be….On one hand, Fred it seems, has secondary incentives and takes a stand for the common good, (and the domains that could be a future deal )On the other side, are the voices that have a vested interest in status quo (Comcast, CSCO, ATT,ISP) -they all are objecting strongly….why?The reason I believe is that it points to potential economic loss, in some shape or form…and this risk scares vested powers, who enjoy the most steady stream of rents. And if they can just hold on to the status quo long enough, it can equate to further outsized future gains.. applaudable for private shareholder interests, but without any real thought given to risks and benefits that might accrue to the public commons /common good, which all of us are vested to having turn out well. We need disruption to occur for true innovations to take place- So of the perceived risk regulating title II -My gut says “Me thinks they doth protest too loudly”

    7. Trevor Doerksen

      “VOIP Fast lanes”I have been in conversations with cable execs in more than one country on more than once occasion where shaping Vonage to poor Quality of Service was a stated (with bravado) goal.I’m at least a little skeptical, based on these types of comments, that a lack of regulation will result in the kind of healthy competition I could support.If the Vonage story is true, or if ISPs shaped Netflix into paying (not saying this happened) what are the options? 1. ISPs can individually or collectively do what they want no matter what. 2. ISPs should restrict these practices to only certain size companies. 3. Level playing field at all costs.Now, lets think about the same issue if Netflix or Vonage were French or Russian, not US companies. Is there a 4th option for foreign companies as there is in Russia and France?We know that government regulation is necessary to keep companies and industries from hurting themselves (see banks), consumers, environment, national interest, etc.In the case of the Internet I think we have mostly got it right, so far. I’m a skeptic that ISPs can regulate themselves and I guess I agree with Mark that government could get it wrong, but they also have a fighting chance of getting it right and a transparent process and discussion is going to help.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        The basic design of TCP/IP is not goodfor conversational voice and video becauseof the possibilities of dropped packets, outof order packets, latency, and jitter. The same TCP/IP can be just terrific for streaming movies at 22 Mbps or more.Why the difference? Because when streaming a movie, can wait for 1-2seconds for the streaming to start duringwhich time the streaming builds up at thereceiving end a ‘buffer’ of video receivedbut not displayed, and that buffer can mask the dropped packets (TCP/IP justrequests the dropped packets again),out of order packets (TCP/IP does the rightthings with such packets, but there canbe a delay noticeable with conversationaluses), jitter, latency, etc. That is, witha conversational application, there is noopportunity for such a ‘buffer’.Want to use digital packets for conversations?Okay, use ATM — asynchronous transfer mode,actually designed for such usage.TCP/IP has some pros/cons but, net, is justterrific stuff. For conversational usage, inpractice, with a lot of excess bandwidth,a really stable connection, maybe sometweaking of ‘class of service’ (CoS) and’quality of service’ (QoS) at some of therouters (maybe also at routers of the’backbone’ that use border gateway protocol (BGP)) can get okay conversationalusage. Such ‘tweaking’ may be some ofwhat the ‘shaping’ was doing.But, voice over IP (VoIP) was partly a bummer tobegin with because can have a lot of reallygood TCP/IP usage but where conversationsare not so good.

        1. Bill Cromie

          If you and I buy a specific quality of service from our internet providers, there should be no reason you and I cannot communicate with each other at that quality of service, aside from the ISP not actually providing that quality of service.The ISPs want to have their cake and eat it too: oversell their service and setup tollbooths along the way high bandwidth use cases.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            there should be no reason you and I cannot communicate with each other at that quality of service, aside from the ISP not actually providing that quality of service. Well, some ISPs can believe, apparently at times in the past have believed, that there very much should be such a “reason”. I explain:First case: So, maybe from our ISPs we buy 10 Mbps up/download speeds. Then we conclude that lots of Web sites, with some big JPGs, GIFs, and PNGs, do load nicely fast, a lot faster than from such Web sites in the days of dial-up access. So, we and the ISPs are both happy, the ISPs because, on average 24 x 7, actually we are using way less than the 10 Mbps.Second case: Then you have a video of 2 GB, that is, ballpark 16 Gb, you send me. This usage was called P2P file sharing, where P2P abbreviated “person to person” or “point to point”.Suddenly, if neither of us is doing anything else, then the Internet speed we are using, upload from you, download to me, is the full 10 Mbps, and we use it for 16 G / 10 M = 16 K / 10 = 1.6 K seconds or 1600 / 60 = 160 / 6 =160 / 6 = 27minutes, nearly 1/2 hour. TCP/IP is so easy to program that the software we would need for such file sharing is just trivial to write. Now our two ISPs are starting to worry.Third case: If a significant fraction of the people in the neighborhoods of our two ISPs do the second case, then the ISPs get torqued because their networks can’t deliver the full 10 Mbps to each of the people in the fraction for very many seconds, certainly not 1/2 hour, and won’t be able to without a lot of new CapEx.So, the ISPs wanted to scream bloody murder. They wanted the 10 Mbps to be just a peak speed that each user would use on average for only a tiny fraction of each hour and in a way that in total the ISP’s network 24 x 7 would be carrying much less than the 10 Mbps per user.In telecommunications, such network capacity planning has been called over subscribing. E.g., the same basic problem held for the old AT&T: If everyone tried to make a phone call at the same time, then the AT&T network would not handle the load. The story went that AT&T did their capacity planning to be able to handle the load on Mother’s Day. Since AT&T was a regulated monopoly, they could just budget the needed CapEx, and the regulators would approve it.That is, when an ISP sold a speed of 10 Mbps, they were likely knowingly over subscribing their network much as AT&T long did.So, some ISPs saw a big problem with P2P file sharing, maybe of recorded music and, for that use, much less than the 4 GB per transfer of my example above since a full music CD is only about 600 MB. So, the ISPs wanted to detect and then slow, throttle, such usage or have usage based billing (UBB) where each month they would charge per GB moved. They argued that otherwise they would have to spend lots of CapEx to increase the capacity of their network and raise their prices and that, then, just the network hogs would be causing an increase in prices for everyone in a way that was unfair.Currently, here in 2014 in the US, generally data rates sold to individual users are high enough that sending some recorded music uses only a small fraction of the data rate sold. Let’s see, for a Nyquist sampling rate for (just under) 22 KHz at 16 bits per sample would have2 * 22 * 10**3 * 16 = 704,000bps, less than 1 Mbps, piece of cake.Then the next big issue was users watching movies from, say, Netfilx, YouTube, Hulu, maybe someday Time-Warner, …. For movies, as I recall, one of the standards calls for 22 Mbps. Now too many people who just have movies running all day, like for decades some people had the TV running all day, could overload the over subscribed network.So, the ISPs started screaming again and wanting to throttle movies from Netflix, etc., get some cash from Netflix, etc. The users started screaming, “I bought 24 Mbps download speed but now my ISP doesn’t want me really to use it, not 24 x 7. Ripoff.”Then the specter of funny stuff from ISPs came up: If ISPs were permitted to have UBB, etc., then they could also try to get paid from both ends of the wire, get into the business of delivering content, e.g., movies, maybe send their own movies at 22 Mbps speed to a user who paid only for 10 Mbps but stay with 10 Mbps, and drop video frames, for other video content sources, etc. Or maybe with Fred’s idea, for a start-up providing video, each ISP could tell the start-up that they could also send their video at 22 Mbps to the ISPs users who paid for only 10 Mbps but the ISP would need 10% of the equity of the start-up.So, there could be a lot of funny business, tying, bundling, etc. that took advantage of the fact that an owner of wired Internet had a monopoly on the last mile, as AT&T long did, a monopoly expensive in CapEx to circumvent in areas of low number of customers per square mile.So, maybe what network neutrality wants is what we could call peak billing, e.g., $100 a month for 100 Mbps up/download speed where a customer could use the full 100 Mbps, both up/download, 24 x 7, with no throttling, no loss of quality of service (QoS), and no additional charges from either the user or content providers, e.g., Fred’s video start-ups.And similarly for up/download speeds other than 100 Mbps.And the ISP would not be able to accept payments, deals, ties, bundling, etc. for giving some data sources preferential treatment.So, in all of this, who’s ox gets gored?Suppose an ISP builds a network and sells access to that network where the network, as long at AT&T, is over subscribed:If too many users move too much data per month, then the network will become overloaded. Then there will be a lot of dropped packets. Then there will be a lot of packets sent again for the dropped packets, and the network will become still more overloaded. Then essentially all the users will see poor service and data rates lower than they were told they were paying for.In response the ISP could spend the CapEx to increase the capacity of their network. Then the ISP will need to get more revenue or will start to lose money.One way to get more revenue is to raise rates for all their users. Then there will be screams that network hogs are causing an increase in rates for many users who like the high peak data rates but use those rates for only a tiny fraction of the time. So the ox of the light users will get gored. Fred might be happy for his video start-ups, but they would be making money off the backs of the light users paying for the hogs.Another way for more revenue, the ISP could charge also for data moved per month, UBB, but there will be screaming about that: Some users will say that they were promised, say, 10 Mbps speed but are getting charged more when they try to use that speed for a significant fraction of the time. Those users didn’t expect to have to be good citizens on an over subscribed network. They will feel gored. Fred’s video start-ups will be hurt because too few users will want to pay high prices per bit moved for video content that needs so many bits at relatively low utility per bit.For more revenue, the ISP could get the content providers who need high data rates for, say, video to pay the ISP. Then Fred will scream that only big content providers can make such payments, and his start-ups will be blocked out. So, the start-ups will be gored.Another approach is for the last mile of wired Internet access to be regulated as a monopoly. There the regulators might be state public utility commissions (PUCs) as for, say, electric power. Just what each state PUC does could vary by state. The PUC would be very much subject to politics, and the solution adopted might be just UBB. And a PUC might not allow the ISPs enough earnings for enough CapEx for the expected growth in Internet usage, e.g., more in video, 3D video, cloud usage, e.g., backup and recovery of user data, the Internet of things, collaborative work, big data, etc. Then the US economy could be throttled by a weak Internet and US international economic competitiveness could be hurt.Another solution is basically to nationalize the last mile. So, maybe the situation would be a combination of TVA, USPS, the TSA, and Medicare! Gee, likely could get some of the unions to go along since regulated monopolies are low fruit in the land of milk and honey for unions! Bummer! Also there would be a lot of politics about network equality for people who live 25 miles back in the woods! To pay for the CapEx for such connections, the costs would be shifted to other users, the tax payers (as the nationalized organization lost money), etc.Of course, in all of this, some ISPs want to drool over holding on to their last mile wired monopoly and, then, get more revenue from artificial shortages, tying, bundling, various deals, etc.My suspicion: For wired access, the problem will soon become moot. About all one person will want in speed is enough for one high quality video stream at, say, 22 Mbps. So, a connection at 100 Mbps, that the hardware technology makes not much more expensive in CapEx, on a significantly over subscribed network will be sufficient to quiet all the screaming and have no one’s ox get seriously lacerated.For this, maybe the FCC could come out with some fairly simple rules. In theory, with a lot of over subscribing, the rules would fail. But in practice, until a lot of people want to move data at speeds of 1 Gbps for a significant fraction of 24 x 7, the simple rules should suffice, that is, suffice for some years. I know; I know; PC motherboards have had 1 GbE (1 Gbps Ethernet) built-in for a long time, and Amazon sells Intel’s 10 GbE network adapter cards (NICs) for, what was it the last time I checked, ballpark $700 each, quantity one, free shipping. Still, some simple rules should suffice for some years. Or, as is a major athletic talent in DC, kick the can down the road. Or, to borrow from Larry Summers, don’t do today what you might be able to do better tomorrow, or some such. Or it’s better to do nothing than to do something wrong; the only person who never does anything wrong is the person who never does anything (Obama’s main rule of work?).For Wheeler, I have no idea what the heck he is doing, but he got just inundated with comments in favor of network neutrality. If nothing else, the PIPA/SOPA debate showed that the end users have to be kept happy. Many Congressman, e.g., Chris Gibson, are big on network neutrality. Obama can read headlines and polls and also makes noises, both recently and going way back, that he is a big proponent of network neutrality. In broad terms, details aside, whatever the heck network neutrality means, Fred is betting on a can’t lose issue: To 200+ US citizens, Network neutrality sounds as good as motherhood and apple pie together.For Wheeler, some advice: Just delay. Likely nothing really bad will happen for at least two years. If Comcast, etc. start to mess up, then just give them a friendly phone call and remind them that they should be nice and that the FCC is still drafting regulations. Then hope and expect that soon there will be enough last mile bandwidth to make all the issues moot.Cruz? While I don’t like Obama or Hillary, so many Repubs have made so many really dumb statements or done so many really dumb things that I question if Cruz is very relevant. If Fred can get some sense into the head of Cruz, okay with me.Net (gee, a pun, and I hate puns), Wheeler and his fellow FCC members, can’t just pass a Verizon, Comcast/Time-Warner wet dream.Gee, on network neutrality, enough from me! My start-up sends pages for only about 400,000 bits per page and needs very little in bandwidth. E.g., if on average 24 x 7 I half fill 25 Mbps upload speed, then I should get monthly revenue of ballpark2 * 5 * 25 * 10**6 * 3600 * 24 * 30 / ( 2 * 400,000 * 1000 ) = 810,000dollars. For 100 Mbps, multiply by 4. For 1 GbE, multiply by 40 for12 * 40 * 810,000 = 388,800,000dollars a year, nearly all pre-tax earnings (right, solo technical founder, in a rural area, with just two kitty cats and a meager burn rate). For 10 Gbps speed, multiply by another 10 for ~$4 billion a year. Where to get 10 Gbps? From my friendly, local colocation site, a few miles away where they have offered me dual 10 GbE (10 Gbps Ethernet) connections.And my server farm? Darned efficient: I should be able to half fill the 25 Mbps speed with just a few servers, costing less than $2000 each, in just a spare bedroom with a window unit A/C.So, to me the main issue is not bandwidth but just having some billions of users like my site.To that end, for some days now I’ve had some software I wrote gathering some initial data and, otherwise, keeping my computer relatively busy. Good little computer, and thank you Central Hudson — ran for days without restarting anything! The software took too long to write; the work will go faster the next time; to get past HTTPS, I used the open source cURL from Sweden (it’s worked great) and then wrote some HTML/CSS parsing software. Finally I got the bugs out; the software is working well; and I’m getting lots of relatively good data, likely some of the best.But that data gathering software is nearly done, and soon I will need to get back to the last work I need to get my software ready to go live, load that initial data, etc.I’ll be thrilled when I half fill 25 Mbps upload speed! I hope Chevy will still be selling their supercharged Corvettes — gee, need one to get to and from the colo site and for travel in the US East and Midwest while avoiding the TSA! Maybe soon Corvette will offer a dual-disk clutch (cute how they work!). And I’ll also need a new SUV!Net, just now network neutrality is not a front burner issue for me, and I need to get back to work!I’ve long since done the hard work; at this point, it’s just dirt simple work, just some simple Visual Basic .NET (don’t laugh; it’s not a toy language, is essentially the same as C# and different essentially only in syntactic sugar and, otherwise, is easier to read, teach, learn, and write and, thus, less error prone), ASP.NET, and IIS. There’s some light usage of SQL Server, but that’s okay. Later I’ll bring up serious versions of Windows Server and SQL Server, but lots of people know just how to do that.Sure, in time I’ll need to hire. So, how to do that? Sure, get some bright people good with communicating, thinking, reading, writing, typing, and using simple software tools, and, then, teach them about writing software! Gee, I didn’t mention computer science. The reason? Sure, I know too much about computer science!How to teach them? Been there; done that. The main ways — some clear lectures and written materials, finally, if only for the first time, clearly explain the stuff. Gee, do all of that even if only for the first time; the stuff is nearly all just dirt simple. Then have some good code examples. Then have some good exercises. Then start on relatively simple parts of the real work! Then grow to more important parts of the work. When we need to use GIT, call in some experts and get their lectures, etc. Same for VM. Same for server farm and network system management. Presto, bingo: Solve the problem of the shortage of software developers! Back to work!

  21. SD

    This is an unfair reading of the history of cable.1- cable entrepreneurs built wires to enable people outside of broadcast range to receive TV. In order to provide more capacity and more universal service, the cable entrepreneurs secured local franchises (protected monopolies).2- programming entrepreneurs like Ted Turner, Bill Rasmussen, Kay Koplovitz and John Hendricks, and companies like Warner Amex founded new channels like TBS, CNN, ESPN, USA and Discovery Channel on the back of the existing cable infrastructure.3- by charging escalating license fees to the cable companies, the programming channels could afford to invest in new programming (such as original shows and sports rights), and still get relatively low ratings (and lower ad rates than broadcast).4- As channel capacity became limited, cable companies insisted on getting launch fees or equity (typically as an advance against future license fee payments).5- Cable companies started to invest in broadband infrastructure after the 1992 regulations – well before the Consumer Internet was a “fait accompli”6 – Due to escalating license fees, there is no way that the cable companies could afford to offer more channels than they currently program.The larger point is that you suggest that cable is purely rent-seeking, and there has been no history of entrepreneurial activity in this ecosystem. The cable companies used cash flows from the programming business to invest in broadband infrastructure that has enabled internet growth.There is a much better middle ground than purely demonizing the cable ops.

  22. Steven Kane

    I support Net Neutrality, via Title II. ASAP.But the fact that you seem unable to bring yourself to call Net neutrality what it is — government regulation — is depressing. Its not a conservative idea. Frankly, its not a liberal idea either. Government exists to create and enforce laws and collect taxes and redistribute wealth etc etc. The question is, how much? And when? And by what means? Netflix is not David and Comcast is not Goliath. Is Google a David…? Is Akamai a Goliath (last time I looked, Akamai facilitates internet fast lanes, for a fee.) Come on. All are titans, with vast economic and political power. AT&T, Apple, Amazon, Comcast, Netflix, and Google and the rest, all make money by extracting rents from — or squashing — nascent new ventures. As I would do, in their position. This issue really is about ensuring a level playing field for those nascent new ventures — the only Davids, if there are any at all — and the only way to do that is through fair, transparent, highly argued and legislated, uniformaly enforced, government regulation. Jeez louise, is it really so fashionable to appear libertarian (whatever that actually means) in silicon valley these days that we can’t call government regulation “government regulation”? Somewhere Karl Rove — and George Orwell — are feeling vindicated.

  23. Steven Kane

    btw, as far as I’m concerned, Ted Cruz is right – and Fred, please, tell him so. ObamaCare is about enfranchisement — the empowerment of every citizen, egalitarian, (someday) universal access to healthcare and insurance. Net neutrality is about enfranchisement — the empowerment of every citizen, guaranteed egalitarian access to the single most vital and important economic opportunity platform in the history of humankind, the internet. If that is something Ted Cruz is against, so be it.

    1. SubstrateUndertow

      It will be interesting to see how all this turns out.My guess is that American Internet will end up much like American Health-care with much poorer/uneven access than most other he first world countries.

    2. Neil

      Sounds right but is soo wrong.The problem with ObamaCare is not enfranchisement of the users… it is enfranchisement of the providers. AT&T was broken up back in the day for a reason, and so it is with health care… it is a giant goo of indifference to the customer.If users had freedom of choice – which the big players would never lobby for – there would be no need for ObamaCare.Just as AT&T monopolized the phone industry; the insurance and drug industries have monopolized the “health care” industry. Your “government” has been captured by Corporations, i.e, a new captain sailing the ship in the wrong direction – no matter what a relief it is to dump the old captain – it is just a less stressful way to go in the wrong direction.The end result of unfettered capitalism is ignorance, poverty, and the enslavement of the 99% due to the constraints legislated by monopolistic corporations. The big boys will use their money to capture every advantage (and penny) to themselves, the commons and public interest be damned.While it didn’t take long for me to conclude that Obama is “Bush Lite,” there is still this:http://www.addictinginfo.or

  24. Brandon Burns

    When you put it like that, I have a hard time believing that the Davids, the 1bn domains out there, will be defeated by the 6 or 7 Goliaths. No matter what the government does. The Davids just need to figure out how to pull their separate fingers together into a fist.

    1. Vineeth Kariappa

      Still did not get this; Did he just put Google, amazon, yahoo, ebay, alibaba, facebook in the “david” category?

      1. Brandon Burns

        No. Except for maybe Google since they’re in the internet service providing business. Otherwise its TimeWarner, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, and the other smaller regional players like Cox, RCN, etc.

        1. Vineeth Kariappa

          “fight between the 1bn active domains and the roughly six or seven wired and wireless carriers “

  25. Justizin

    I’m sure we can agree that Ted Cruz has some motives here that are not directly related to protecting The Internet. That said, I am very concerned that in over ten years people have been talking about neutrality, all of a sudden we are talking about the Comcast <-> Netflix fight, and even lately if you think you aren’t, you are, because Netflix stirred up a lot of public support. And guess what, this is about Netflix trying to compete with Comcast on content. This is about Netflix asking Comcast to host their hardware and content for free, cloaked in a concern that Comcast would “prioritize” their own content over Netflix’s.I think it’s reasonable for the owner of a network to get an inherent advantage in locating their content at no substantial additional cost, because they own the network, but I think they should also offer open pricing to vendors like Netflix who want to colocate hardware – when you say there is no gatekeeper on the internet, you’re a fool! Colocation providers and backbone providers are the gatekeepers, even if they shouldn’t be philosophically.For Netflix to ask Comcast to host equipment that consumes power, bandwidth in both directions, and requires maintenance as if those have no costs, and as if it is clear cut that network providers should satisfy such requests from _just anyone_ is just as disingenuous as for Comcast to claim they can’t afford to expand their infrastructure more rapidly.What Sen. Cruz is right about is that Net Neutrality has nothing to do with any of this, but that’s only by chance, not because he has enough of a clue about what any of this means to waft it in the direction of anyone else. I’m sure that he and I would disagree on many conclusions to be drawn by this particular fact.Are there dangers of major network carriers prioritizing some services over others unfairly? Yes. Are we ready to draw up legislation about this? I don’t think so, largely because noone is talking about the areas that I _truly_ believe we should be most concerned, and we are likely to draw up legislation that accomplishes nothing while making a bunch of armchair activists feel as if they’ve done their good deed for the decade.Peering and Hosting have nothing to do with Neutrality, and the entire Comcast <-> Verizon discussion has framed Neutrality specifically in light of agreements between major corporations that impact their stockholders more than honest, paying customers.

  26. WA

    I am thinking the underlying premise of the post was mapped out by Tim Wu almost half a decade ago in The Master Switch. The path of telco and cable in regard to eventual gate keepers and toll collectors of user access to the internet, has followed the text book case laid out there. and no surprise to the masses of users (Joe public) for the most part. The pain is probably always greatest for pioneers who blaze trails unconstrained into virgin territories, build them out and at some point having to allow greater and more controlled bearers of infrastructure take them over. (40 acres and a mule into developed towns and cities) Either way wasn’t the” information empire”strategy of standing by (once again)during the evolution of open communication systems-this time the Internet- into the expected closed systems running on the empires’ pipes something expected? For all the ruckus, if there is such an uproar now, why weren’t constraints built in earlier by the entrepreneurial engineers who have delivered us the state of tech nirvana we all have assimilated into, can’t live without and like with any other utility are willing to pay for as a society. Yes-outside the bible and startup world sometimes Goliath-simply wins.

  27. Antonio Rocha-Ferreira

    These are the facts. I have broadband. They contract a certain quality of service and should provide. I accept & expect some sort of management of the network. More than that, its just a bunch of stupid american execs trying to get more money out of the cars already on their freeway. If you want to charge for the fast lane, build one. Don’t come over with bullshit to charge extra to slow some cars and let pass others. This is what is wrong with corporate america.

  28. kev polonski

    If there is a real problem with cable/Telco abusing the last-mile and creating monopolies, I don’t see how giving more power to the Govt, especially after Grubergate “voters are stupid so we can pull a fast one on them by creating purposely vague laws”?Unless we have a free press that has the backbone to utter the word “impeachment” when a sitting president threatens unilateral, unconstitutional action (and indeed has done precisely that in self-proclaimed modifications to the ACA), unless we also have an opposition party willing to show a spine, giving the government any more power is foolishness.

    1. SubstrateUndertow

      “unconstitutional action”REALLY !

  29. Ken Galpin

    It seems to me that we as an Internet community will continue to battle this issue as long as there is no competitive alternative for the last mile that is fundamentally aligned with net neutrality. The current situation reminds me of the stranglehold that major banks held on consumers prior to the development of alternative institutions like credit unions. Perhaps, we need to look at crowdsourcing the last mile infrastructure through the creation of local Internet co-ops that could raise the funds to put fiber into local neighbourhoods. These co-ops could then peer with each other and the closest NAP for interconnectivity. As a potential, local co-op member, I would be happy to pay my current $130/mo. to an entity I have a small share in and that I could invest in for a larger share if desired. And yes, I do understand the magnitude of the capex required to do this and the politics of local right-of-ways etc. but these are not show stoppers. The key issue is to find the right scale of operation for financial viability at a local level and garner support from established Internet content providers.

  30. Steven Rosenbaum

    Worth going back further, to the very early days of cable. In eastern pa, in the early 1940’s a few wily entrepreneurs strung some coax down to the valley to bring broadcast signals to homes that couldn’t receive over the air TV. By any measure this was the kind of innovation that happens when entrepreneurs are able to create new ideas ahead of the market. Today, we would call the re-selling of someone’s signal without permission piracy. So Fred, your point is spot on. If we allow big players to box out emerging innovation by allowing internet access access to be a ‘pay to play’ world – we may never see the bootstrap innovation that truly allows new ideas to emerge.

  31. george

    You could argue that the cable model operates nearly everywhere in business; big companies impose their influence to block out new upstarts that threaten their profits, operating leverage and investments. Somehow, this strategy has never suppressed change!I disagree that the David’s can’t go toe-to-toe against the Goliath’s – the innovators created the internet and they will build the tight solutions – Google has jumped into the fray and more will follow to rebalance power.

  32. sigmaalgebra

    Fred, there are some problems, I regard as serious, with theefforts and arguments for network neutrality. Five issues:First, what are the goals? That is, just what is it we wantfrom the Internet and/or the last mile. Somewhere we need tosay and maybe debate what is said.You have outlined some goals, e.g., permit start-ups, but forgetting serious and having some real effects, we need muchmore clarity.Second, what are the threats to the goals?I know; I know; the sky is falling, or about to fall, or somesuch. But we need a much better argument than that.In your post today you have said not the cable model. Okay.But, again, we need more clarity.As at…are the threats essentially Advocates of net neutrality such as LawrenceLessig have raised concerns about the ability of broadbandproviders to use their last mile infrastructure to blockInternet applications and content (e.g. websites, services,and protocols), and even to block out competitors.Neutrality proponents claim that telecom companies seek toimpose a tiered service model in order to control the pipelineand thereby remove competition, create artificial scarcity,and oblige subscribers to buy their otherwise uncompetitiveservices. Many believe net neutrality to be primarilyThird, just what are we proposing in laws, regulations,practices, etc. for network neutrality? Or, the FCC isdrafting; what do we want them to draft? Going back to TitleII? Regulation, complete with regulation by state utilitycommissions, of the wired last mile? Or what? Just what arewe proposing? We need some clarity here.At…there is in part Net neutrality (also network neutrality orInternet neutrality) is the principle that Internet serviceproviders and governments should treat all data on theInternet equally, not discriminating or chargingdifferentially by user, content, site, platform, application,type of attached equipment, or mode of communication.Is that all we want from network neutrality.?If that is what we want, then what do we need to have to getthere, from Congress, the FCC, FTC, etc.?Fourth, to lawyers, are there some obvious legal obstacles toISPs causing some of the threats?Fifth, are some technological solutions well on the way thatwill mean that there will be easy and effective competitionfor the wired last mile so that nearly all the regulations andFCC statements will be moot?

  33. Chimpwithcans

    Woah! – one too many political bunfights for a happy-go-lucky AVC reader today!

  34. Musical Missionary

    Net neutrality isn’t about “regulating the Internet,” it’s about preserving the Internet by regulating the oligarchies that control access to it.

  35. Craig Newmark

    Fred, thanks, good analysis, I appreciate it!

    1. ShanaC

      Random: Craig, I like the hat you are wearing in this picture.

  36. BTM

    Cruz isn’t completely wrong : regulations dan limit freedom and innovation in some way, and net neutrality is really a big boys battle in some way… But for one, the jungle law is not my idea of democracy… And second, they have a saying in Africa that goes along the lines of “When elephants dance, threads of grass suffer”… Imagine what happens when they fight !A good regulation could very well prevent elephants from fighting on the grass, giving each and every threads more freedom to grow…

  37. KDS

    > “Let’s keep the Internet industry operating on the Internet model and not allow it to be moved to a cable model”OK, that sounds great. But it already has moved to the cable model. I have a choice of two ISP’s, and only one offer high speed, so it is an effective monopoly. It already is the cable model.What I don’t understand is what action you think should be taken to get us back to an internet model. The internet is a non-monopolistic model because there were no bottlenecks that a single operator could leverage to charge rents on traffic flowing through. But Comcast and others are doing that now. How do we get BACK to an internet model?

  38. sigmaalgebra

    Okay, I watched the Cruz speech.Hmm ….So, he showed an old phone from the 1933 or whatever act and said that all telephone innovation stopped then.Let’s see: [This one’s way, Way too easy!] AT&T clearly saw that vacuum tubes were a total bummer for the US long distance network. So, they wanted something without a hot filament, something not so darned delicate, something smaller, cheaper, with much less electrical noise, and more reliable. Big goals! They already knew about selenium rectifiers. They were solid state! So, maybe we could have a solid state amplifier! So, Bell Labs got started.WWII was an interruption, but right after the war they got back to it. Then, soon, giant step up in civilization and the ascent of man. One of the all time biggies. So big that AT&T didn’t patent it but gave it to the world. Right, the transistor. Innovation, e.g., the apps Cruz mentioned? What a total belly laugh! The transistor alone totally blows away everything done in Silicon Valley software for the last — forever.Okay, but we want to transmit information, don’t we? Well, how fast can we do that? Enter C. Shannon. Right, Bell Labs. He knocked it out of the ballpark and into orbit. Right, innovation.Now, we’d like to be able to transmit information without errors, right? Okay, R. Hamming and error correcting codes. They’re biggies, guys! Right, innovation. Right, Bell Labs.But, still what about those copper wires? Okay, how about using optical fibers and lit with some lasers? How about Ga-Al-As hetero-junction solid state lasers, about the size of a pin head to light the fibers? Innovation! Right, Bell Labs.Yup, Cruz believes that a regulated monopoly can’t innovate, e.g., doesn’t write apps! Oh, let’s see, could AT&T write software? Well, they did some of the first and really important, for the information, communications, and control for the radar stations in northern Canada during the early days of the Cold War. Yup, they wrote software. Innovative.But, more in software? [All this is just embarrassingly easy!] How about that little effort Unix, later we called BSD, then Linux? With a programming language, C, still important. Then C++, a pre-processor to C. Yup, Unix, C, and C++, all done at Bell Labs. And they gave it away. Innovation!The Internet? Surely that innovation was done by the Cruz entrepreneurs? Nope! The Internet was done by ARPA and called ARPANet. Later it was run by the NSF.Of course, the Internet is awash in crucial contributions from Bell Labs — transistors, information theory, error correcting coding, optical fibers, solid state lasers, Unix, C, and C++.There’s more, but it’s cruel to beat a horse until it’s dead, then run over it with a steamroller, and then blast it with a 15 MT fusion bomb!But, how about digital packet communications? Sure, asynchronous transfer mode, ATM, good for conversational voice while the TCP/IP of the Internet really is not. ATM? Right, Bell Labs. Innovation.Summary: The Internet is heavily, crucially dependent on Bell Labs and ARPA. Nearly all the rest was routine, trivial, and nearly obvious.Cruz was just playing politics, pushing out a lot of poorly informed cliches some of his listeners wanted to hear.Still, not everything Cruz said is wrong: In general, DC regulation can be risky. Not always: From all I know, the FDA, FAA, and CDC have been doing really well. Still regulation is risky.And monopolies can be risky.So, we need to be careful. But we need better information than we were getting from Cruz!

  39. queuemanagement

    “And as far as 1k channels are you saying more linear is better than the thousands of hours of HD on demand content they offer to tv viewers ?”He wasn’t saying that–you’re inferring.Also, the internet wasn’t designed for audio, or images, or any specific object other than the packet. That’s what makes it so versatile.What Comcast and other effective monopolies want to do is throttle content providers and basically tax both sides of the pipe, which will inhibit growth of startups and deny you and I access regardless of the speeds we pay for on the consumer side. I don’t know what the best method is for protecting those things, but some level of regulation on the monopolies make sense. It ain’t a free market on the provider side in most parts of the country.

  40. Kristine S

    Just so everyone in the conversation is aware Mark has been asking for the elimination of #NetNeutrality since 2006.

    1. markcuban

      Actually earlier. That was just my first blog post which I had to take down because of the amazing amount of spam and hate I got in the comments

  41. Steve_Dodd

    Wow, what a great discussion between the people paying the bills and those who want it for free! I’m not all that smart (certainly not as smart as most here) but from my basic perspective, everybody (Davids and Goliaths alike) need to eat. Eating costs money. Solve the business model and the rest of this issue goes away. IMO, this is the problem facing the entire internet ecosystem. Everybody has to get (and pay for) their fair share of the overall value proposition for this to work. Without content, there is no need for the internet. Without the internet, there is no access to content. So, we’re all in this together. The underlying issue is that everyone in this game is trying to get as much money as possible (for themselves) without caring about the other guy (who’s needed to get that money).

  42. Musical Missionary

    From a true telecom law expert:”As I (and others) have noted in the past, classification doesn’t have to be a big deal. To illustrate this, I will go back to the last time the FCC classified a service — automatic voice roaming in the wireless world — as a Title II service. As we will see, this took remarkably little effort. The FCC explicitly rejected the requirement to do rate regulation or a requirement to file tariffs with the prices and did not need to engage in any extensive forbearance. They just said “nah, we’re not gonna do that.” The final adopted rules are less than a page and a half.I will also note that despite classifying automatic voice roaming as a Title II service in 2007 (and classifying mobile wireless phone service as a Title II service in 1993), the wireless industry seems to be doing OK, with more than 300 million subscribers and (as CTIA never tires of telling us) several gagillion dollars worth of capital investment.”…Don’t believe the hype! Title 2 will not hurt the internet or stifle innovation. To the contrary, it will keep oligarchs in check so they can’t throttle broadband/innovation for their own self-gain. Without true net neutrality, ISP monopolists will scheme to abuse their gatekeeper powers to create artificial bandwidth scarcity to justify the notion that fast lanes are necessary. What they hope we won’t ask is “wouldn’t upgrading to gigabit networks be a better way to enable critical and next-generation applications than creating more expensive ‘fast lanes’ that just make you richer while holding the rest of us (and our national economy) hostage?” Bingo! With true net neutrality, incumbent ISPs will be forced to face the music that they are, in fact, dumb pipes, as they should be. The way they grow value is delivering more speed and reliability, not creating artificial scarcity disguised as network “traffic management.” And if the incumbents don’t want to face that music, Google, municipalities and new upstarts will.

    1. markcuban

      You lose all credibility when you tell us what isps will do

      1. Musical Missionary

        And you lose all credibility when you tell us what regulators will do. See above for recent example where they didn’t do what you claim they will do this time.FYI, my assertions of what ISPs will do are based objectively on the record of what they have already done.

        1. markcuban

          I don’t say what regulators will do I always say there is absolute uncertainty as to what regulators will do and what the response to regulators will beThe only thing I suggested was that there would be a legal response to whatever the fcc does do

        2. markcuban

          And feel free to show me examples of where the isps throttled or denied access to content other than the example where netflix chose the least expensive interconnect and articles blamed the decline in performance on throttling. Or the 2008 case where Comcast did throttle bit torrent and was ordered to change that policy.I don’t see one misstep 7 years ago as being a trend

          1. Musical Missionary

            “The proof is in: Detailed report shows how U.S. Internet access monopolies punish rivals and catch innocent bystanders in the crossfire—legally.”…It shouldn’t surprise anyone that access monopolies have been abusing their gatekeeper status to create artificial scarcity to maximize profits. ISPs should be treated like dumb pipes, plain and simple. That’s what Title 2 will do.BTW, huge fan of the show 😉

          2. markcuban

            Thx for watching :)But you do realize that had cogent and level 3 not Taken on Netflix business none of their customers would have sufferedAnd why is it that cogent and level 3 can take Netflix money for transit but no one else canThat article would get the same response from me on shark tank

  43. markcuban

    Internet content entrepreneurs, including myself have to be the dumbest business people on the planetI ve not had a single discussion with any of companies or any investment or any potential Investment about the risKS that ISPs will create with blocking,throttling, fast lanes and other nefarious deeds isps will inevitably doNot have I seen companies for sale as a result. Nor have I seen it mentioned as part or the valuation equation.on the flip side I hAve seen one company close because a content company shut off its apiI’ve seen huge companies lose money and customers get upset because the content companies denied access to their companies. Multiple times. And publicly were proud to admit itThw market is saying , as best I can tell, that content has more power than ISPSM

    1. markcuban

      Make that denied access to their content.

  44. Jonathan Nation

    Want to see what the future of innovation is if Title 2 is enacted … just look at this news report of the government treating new technologies:

  45. Terry J Leach

    Fred you were dead on with this post. Comcast already trying to impose the cable model in southern markets.Why Comcast is pushing broadband data caps that nobody wants…

  46. awaldstein

    Interesting.Sewers are everywhere obviously. Subways not so.

  47. JimHirshfield

    Shit. Why didn’t I think of that?

  48. pointsnfigures

    Cruz is a force in the Senate, and so is Rand Paul. Cruz is from Texas, which has a lot of votes. He also sits on this committee: http://www.commerce.senate…. so what he says is pretty important because that’s where the legislation will get made in the Senate. In the House, it’s Fred Upton that chairs the committee:

  49. andyswan

    I’d pay to see the conversation where Rand Paul or other libertarians are told that federal regulation is the only thing that can “save” one of our most prosperous, least regulated industries.

  50. JoshGrot

    Well said; though I might change the analogy to trying to convince McDonald’s to stop selling Coke: it’s do-able, but Pepsi would have to come up with a LOT of money to make them switch.

  51. JLM

    .If you looked at Fred Wilson’s words and Ted Cruz’s words without identifying the speaker — one couldn’t tell them apart. Both are in favor of innovation and startups. Both are opposed to additional government regulation.Ted Cruz is a very smart guy. When everyone was wandering in the desert after the 2012 election and everyone was telling the Republicans they had to retool everything to become relevant, Ted Cruz was calling bullshit and saying the Republicans only had to let the Obama policies sit in the sun and begin to stink. The stink would take care of things.To folks who listened to him in those days, EVERYTHING he said turned out to be true. Ted Cruz called the 2014 mid-terms way back in 2012.Ted Cruz is in favor of innovation and startups. He gave that speech at the ATX Capitol Factory — a very innovative incubator operation in Austin.It is unfortunate that folks are allowing the titles to obscure the message.Ted Cruz has got it right — the Internet will suffer if regulated by the government.JLM.

  52. JimHirshfield

    Preaching to the choir, baker man. I opt for whole wheat every time.

  53. JimHirshfield

    Yes. He wants to put satellites in the sky.

  54. William Mougayar

    Yup! There is a common thing between space, cars and Internet. They’re all in the “transportation” business- people, data, science.

  55. pointsnfigures

    I think he will get behind the pro-entrepreneurship notion. That may be counter to other versions of net neut. But, it’s a Republican lead Senate, and he is one of it’s leaders. Net Neut is going to go through him.

  56. LE

    Just pulled this up, never heard of that:…My first thought is that the incumbents would release a large amount of FUD to stall this until the next mileu. Maybe this would fly in podunk (or Quincy) hard to believe it could be pulled off in Manhattan.

  57. pointsnfigures

    I think the govt has done more snooping than the ISPs. I trust a private company more so than government, because I generally have a choice not to use them.

  58. markcuban

    Show me where they have

  59. JLM

    .What I find in politics is one can either focus on the common ground — he is in favor of innovation and startups — or you can fight about the differences.Fighting hasn’t accomplished much recently while common ground has. In the recent election, the Republicans didn’t really win as much as they helped the Democrats lose. The policies — which Obama unwisely said were on the ballot — did the heavy lifting. The common ground was the almost universal dislike for the underlying policies.The Republicans didn’t even touch the normal social issues. They also put up much better candidates — not the high hurdles just getting rid of avowed witches and other crazies.In much the same manner, I think the President has mouthed platitudes about net neutrality — which I think is a misunderstood term — and Ted Cruz is counting votes, not campaign contributions.This can be made to work as long as nobody feels the necessity to be anointed as “right”. Ride that pony to the “status quo”.Remember all this baloney was started by Obama appointees on the FCC.JLM.

  60. markcuban

    So I’m inferring when fred asks about 1k channels but you aren’t when you tell me what those companies want to and will do. Despite the fact they havent done anything of the sort so farOk

  61. Salt Shaker

    “Ted Cruz was calling bullshit and saying the Republicans only had to let the Obama policies sit in the sun and begin to stink. The stink would take care of things.”Perhaps so, but honestly, is that really governing? It’s hard to give TC points for that. The objective for any politician should never primarily be about disenfranchising the opposition, which appears to be TC’s agenda. He may be smart, but the jury is out on whether he’s a leader, an equal, if not more important, skill.

  62. mikenolan99

    Got to disagree with you here, boss… We have had net neutrality from the beginning of the internet – and I want to keep it that way. Passing well reasoned and limited regulation to keep it that way is a GOOD thing.I love the analogy of not being able to buy a Maytag washer because my power company won’t allow “its” electricity to be used on anything but Whirlpool – because they pay the slotting fee.I have ONE choice for internet where I live. That is a monopoly. We the people have a right to limit monopolies. That is at the heart of fostering entrepreneurship.Period.

  63. SubstrateUndertow

    So we should instead let the cable ISP monopolists regulate everyone else’s cost structures.Complexity always comes with regulation the only question is by whom !

  64. Stranger in the Alps

    It’s not regulating the internet. It’s regulating the monopolistic ISPs.

  65. JLM

    .Trying to be as objective as one could be, you have to remember all the branding bullshit that was going on in 2012. It was a disaster. The Republicans were contemplating wearing their underwear on the outside of their pants if that would help them win elections.Ted Cruz was the paragon of calm. That is leadership. Leaders are calm in the face of bad news perhaps their most vital trait.It is almost impossible for folks to be objective as it relates to presidential politics but Obama made it infinitely easier with the pronouncement that his policies were on the ballot though he himself was not. This became a huge focal point and the election speaks for itself and Obama’s policies.The Republicans had not come up with a strong a rallying call as Obama provided them with that ill advised statement. The Republicans were not that smart.Ted Cruz is not in a position to govern individually, he is a legislator and nothing more. Taken collectively maybe it is fair to say the Republicans hold sway over the future of the country but it will still take a savvy President to sign legislation.Obama is not that smart. He will ignore very strong signals — like Oregon’s overwhelming rejection of illegal alien driver’s licenses while approving marijuana — and shit in his own mess kit.JLM.

  66. Bill Cromie

    Mark: google “bypass throttling”.If you have consumer internet at home, just vpn to a server with real internet and the difference is incredible even with the encryption and extra hop overhead.There are plenty of demos on YouTube.ISPs are throttling services left and right.

  67. dax

    “Cogent Now Admits They Slowed Down Netflix’s Traffic, Creating A Fast Lane & Slow Lane”.

  68. andyswan

    That’s how supermarkets work too. The problem here is the “monopoly”, not the right of the provider. The Feds are attacking the wrong problem

  69. sigmaalgebra

    Okay, maybe I’m beginning to catch on:Maybe from my ISP I get and pay extra for 101 Mbps download speed and 25 Mbps upload speed; Netflix or YouTube are maybe willing to send me some 22 Mbps HD streams, but my ISP might set the topology of their network and/or access to the backbone so that the highest data rate one of those content sites can send one of my ISP’s customers is, say, 2 Mbps unless the content provider pays a special access fee to the ISP. From the HD stream I get the audio okay but get only a few of the frames of video. Maybe.So, for that HD stream, the provider pays their ISP for enough upload bandwidth to the Internet for them so serve me and all their customers, and I pay my ISP for enough download bandwidth from the Internet, but, still I don’t get the 22 Mbps bandwidth of the content unless the provider pays extra to my ISP.Right away I see at least three problems for my ISP:First, I might have a reason to scream bloody murder to my ISP. Or the ISPs promise of 101 Mbps download speed sounds like fraud, and there might be a juicy class action law suit here (I’m not a lawyer).Second, my ISP would have a tough time getting me to keep paying for the 101 Mbps download speed and 25 Mbps upload speed since my ISP has arranged to throttle anyway back to, say, 2 Mbps 22 Mbps HD streams from some content providers.Third, the content provider might have a good law suit from the content provider.I sense a strong need for some more information.

  70. JLM

    .While I agree with your macro intentions what you describe as “reasoned and limited regulation” is not what is being contemplated.Once the Internet is under the regulation of the FCC, all bets are off. It becomes a utility subject to a 16.9% tax and the future whims of the FCC.As to local choices, it is ultimately competition which must be unleashed to broaden service. For years I had no Internet in Steamboat Springs and now it is almost as good as Austin.JLM.

  71. JLM

    .Your second sentence is exactly why the absence of regulation is sometimes — not always but sometimes — the lesser of two evils. Still evil, just less so.JLM.

  72. markcuban

    Thank you. You are making my point. Cogent isn’t an ISP

  73. markcuban

    Thank you for you commen’s but couldn’t disagree more. The delta in speed between the US and all but SKOREA is 3mbs. How is that pathetically brokenInternet speeds are I n creasing 9 pCT per qtr how is that haopening ? I’ve seen surveys that say USA investment per capita is the highest in the worldAnd the fact that Google is committing to do so many cities proves you can competeasily and u should know as well as anyone last mile and local in general is controlled by local government

  74. Bill Cromie

    Not just Hong Kong and SK: Svalbard has some of the fastest internet around with a population density at around a tenth of a person per square mile.High population density is neither necessary nor sufficient for world class internet access.

  75. LE

    (Did you mean “well no shit!”? Or “no shit sherlock?”)While I would never have thought “lead in the soil” I would have definitely thought “hmm things grown in a city environment with the air quality and possible chemical leaching may be an issue…”. Same way I realize that I’m taking a risk when eating in any restaurant where I don’t know the exact food handling procedures. (I still do but it’s something I think about for sure..)

  76. Don Jones

    Cogent is most definitely an ISP.They also operate 2 of the 11 root servers for the Internet (which they took over when they bought from bankruptcy years ago).They have been on the receiving end of more than one peering dispute and they can be complicated issues, not necessarily neutrality related.

  77. Don Jones

    Cogent is not upstream from the last mile. They are long haul, metro and all the way into the premises.

  78. Chimpwithcans

    @JLM Would it be accurate to say that you see the NN debate as a longer term issue than Fred sees it? ie. Obama-enforced Legislation is less flexible in the long run, with just as much of a controlling presence in the shape of the FCC, than the incumbent ISP’s.

  79. JamesHRH

    When that happens, let me know.

  80. JLM

    .Net neutrality was a “word” in 2003.It was not an “issue.”Your citation shows that to be true.It did not really become an issue until this most recent set of Obama knucklehead appointments. The head of the FCC is “the” driver of this and what a surprise that a former lobbyist would be working still for his “former” clients.I have exceeded the allowable limit of quotation marks for which I “apologize.”JLM.

  81. markcuban

    Isn’t the government subsidizing south Korean internet ? Do you think we should do that here ?And my point was that if you take SKOREA off the list we are right there with anyone. The delta is only 3 mbsAnd I get your point on the elements. The issue is that regulation doesn’t fix any of it

  82. JamesHRH

    I yearn for enlightenment.Examples?

  83. markcuban

    Thx for the well thought out replyI still don’t see 3mbs or 4mbs as a big delta and disagree on the density /coverage size differences between US and the countries above us. If US broadband wasby being done well there would be no netflix who has gone from nothing to huge in streaming in 5 years.But the bigger issue is how you approach the issue. To say “either way there is going to be more regulation” so you pick net neutrality is like arguing with yourself and picking the bether argumentIf you are correct, there is more regulation either way, then we can also assume that there will be years of litigation before thedetails of the regulations are sorted out. That’s a lose lose propositionBut I will turn it around. Where will the additional last mile competion come from ? You can’t include Google FiberAnd no one at the FCC is suggestion that tier 2 will include anyone being able to create a clec like environment where 3rd parties can colocate and just resell incumbents bandwidthAnd what do you do about CDNs that could easily create fast lanesAnd how will the FCC regulate new protocols ,codes and data types ?

  84. Seriously

    25% is not a big delta? Seriously? CDNs have nothing to do with this. That is on their network. The natural decline and originating connection(s) over bitmiles is the only slowdown that should exist in terms of latency. If a company cannot sell X bandwidth at Y price with Z total usage/mo, one of those needs to change. If they want to offer “boost” bandwidth as a reason to stick with them or increased latency[to everyone] when available that should be fine. They are not delivering a minimum level of service that a customer can accurately predict their usage with ahead of time… they won’t even tell you what the packet overhead is but enforce max usage. The excuse is “fairness” over actual bandwidth use, so I don’t see why your point comes into play here. Don’t write checks your ass can’t cash. Just like T-mobile’s CEO said what about our music service for free. Fine, credit the account. Please read it… in their own words: http://www.broadcastingcabl

  85. Guest

    Mark – Thanks for sharing your thoughts on UBB. I suggest we don’t go there either, as again it’s a symptom/consequence of the fundamental problem. While a better case can be made in wireless due to spectrum considerations, the same can’t be said for terrestrial connection were the case is more spurious (and in some cases outright BS). Again we can look to several foreign market’s where this ins’t an issue b/c they got the financial equation in the last mile right.