FCC, Mark Cuban, YouTube In Pittsburgh For Internet Discussion

July 21, 2008
The Pittsburgh Channel

PITTSBURGH — All five members of the Federal Communications Commission were in Pittsburgh Monday for a rare public hearing outside of Washington, D.C., to discuss expanding high-speed Internet service and bridging the country’s so-called “digital divide.”

Mark Cuban, who founded the high-definition TV channel HDNet and owns the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, was an invited speaker at the FCC’s Internet policy discussion at Carnegie Mellon University, along with representatives of YouTube and AT&T.

“There’s never enough availability, just like there’s never cheap enough electricity, there’s never cheap enough gas and the roads always have potholes. There’s always going to be issues,” Cuban said. “But yeah, I think there’s competition, I think there’s going to be more fiber, I think there’s going to be better utilization of digital assets that are already there, so I’m not nearly as concerned as some people.”

U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, vice chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, said he wants to see less domination of the industry by large companies.

He also thinks smaller companies should be offered incentives to join the competition and bring down prices.

“We want to make sure we not only get Internet out to rural parts of Pennsylvania, but in urban centers like Pittsburgh, that poorer communities have access so they can benefit from it also,” said Doyle, D-Forest Hills.

CMU technology experts, labor union representatives and small business owners were also invited to speak at the meeting, which could run as late as 8:30 p.m.

Comments will be accepted from the public, too.

The meeting is being carried live on CMU’s radio station, WRCT 88.3 FM, and on the station’s Web site.