Bret Swanson: How Title II Would Harm Web Video

Bret Swanson has a don’t-miss piece in Forbes today.   Amazon, Twitch and the Title II Threat to Web Video. Swanson points to Amazon’s planned acquisition of Twitch, “an online streamer of video games and the gamers who play them,” to illustrate that the Internet is working fine – better than fine! – thank you very much.  But this would most certainly change should broadband be reclassified as a Title II common carrier, as some want. Twitch’s success seems downright peculiar to many (who knew millions of gamers would want to watch other gamers gaming?).  But as Swanson points out, Twitch exemplifies the robust, well-functioning “market full of new products, technologies, devices, content, and services, all provided by a growing array of diverse network, software, Web, and computer firms pursuing diverse business models.” What would Title II reclassification bring?  Nothing but misery:

Broadband and mobile networks and the core Internet have all grown up outside of Title II. The lack of interference from Washington is a big factor in their success (and why the heavily regulated Title II telephone network is withering away).  Not only would Title II disrupt today’s broadband, video, and Web markets, it would also prevent this highly dynamic system from finding its way toward the new technologies, better products, lower prices, and unseen content innovations of the future.

Title II, in other words, would most certainly be an ill wind, blowing no good for future Twitches. There’s much more, none of it good.   As the wise man said, read the whole thing …