Billionaire investor and ABC “Shark Tank” star Mark Cuban unloaded on the Federal Communications Commission’s plan to fundamentally change how it oversees the open Internet.
“That will fuck everything up,” said the voluble Cuban in remarks Wednesday at the Code/Media conference at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, Calif.
In early February, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed tough new rules for Internet lines that would prohibit wired and wireless broadband providers from collecting payment to cut to the front of the line, or blocking and throttling lawful content and services.
Cuban said this bid to significantly expand the agency’s authority to regulate broadband providers is nothing more than an attack on giant media companies like Comcast*.
“Net neutrality is just a demonization of big companies,” Cuban said.
Cuban, who parlayed his windfall from the 1999 sale of Broadcast.com to Yahoo into an array of ventures that include the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, AXS TV and the Landmark Theatres chain, said there is no evidence (beyond an isolated 2008 case) that Internet providers have throttled access to certain websites.
The executive dismissed Netflix’s claims that subscribers endured slower speeds until the company paid Comcast for direct access to the Internet provider’s broadband network. Comcast claimed that Netflix had used an inferior middleman to deliver video to Comcast’s network.
“It’s a battle between two fairly large companies,” Cuban said. “[They] worked it out, just like happens in business every day.”
Cuban said he does not want a group of political appointees at the FCC regulating the Internet.
“Having them overseeing the Internet scares the shit out of me,” Cuban said.
However, he said he would have no objection to Congress passing a law specifying that Internet providers can’t discriminate against or block legal websites.