Netflix CEO: Comcast should apply data caps equally, or not at all

By on April 16, 2012, 2:25 PM

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings gave Comcast a quick jab on his Facebook page yesterday, accusing the company of possibly violating net neutrality principles. Citing Comcast's uniquely preferential treatment of video streamed via Xfinity's Xbox app, Hastings called upon Comcast to either apply data caps equally or not at all.

As Hasting pointed out in his post, video streamed through the Xfinity app on an Xbox ignores the 250GB per month data cap imposed by Comcast. Unlike Xfinity though, other third-party video streaming services like HBO Go, Netflix and Hulu chew up metered bandwidth, bringing Comcast subscribers closer to their monthly limit. 

"Comcast no longer following net neutrality principles. Comcast should apply caps equally, or not at all. I spent the weekend enjoying four good internet video apps on my Xbox: Netflix, HBO GO, Xfinity, and Hulu. When I watch video on my Xbox from three of these four apps, it counts against my Comcast internet cap. When I watch through Comcast’s Xfinity app, however, it does not count against my Comcast internet cap."

Source: Reed Hastings, facebook.com

In 2008, Comcast began enforcing a hard 250GB data cap for all residential subscribers. The only way to raise the data cap has been to purchase their business-class service -- a service which, in many areas, costs roughly double that of their most premium residential plan.

Last month, Comcast announced that content streamed through Xbox Live or its Xfinity Xbox app would not affect the data cap of its subscribers. 

While Hastings considers this practice to be unfair, Comcast has seemingly preempted this complaint by addressing it on their Xbox FAQ. The company describes the Xfinity TV app as essentially acting like an additional cable box. Additionally, in order for the Xbox app to work, users must subscribe to a level of service which includes On Demand (i.e. digital cable which requires a box or card).

So, what do you think -- is Comcast's treatment of Xfinity a breach of net neutrality?




User Comments: 9

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Guest said:

Comcast is favoring one service over the other so 'yes' it's breaching net neutrality laws, Not only that but they're trying to forcefully impose other services upon their customers!

Bottom line @give the customers what they pay for! and don't dictate what they can and can not do with their service!'

CrisisDog said:

And this is one of the many reasons I have WOW...

Guest said:

its the companies service, not the customers. Their lines, their rules. If i owned lines I too would do what was in the best interest of me and not everyone else. Businesses are not a charity house for to make EVERYONE happy. They pick and choose WHO to make happy based on thier bottom line. You can cry if you want, but in the end you have to realize no one ever said life was fair.

psycros psycros said:

<b>What</b> net neutrality "laws"?? There's no such thing, and their aren't likely to be as long as Comcast and the other big players keep pumping 100's of millions annually into lobbying and other anti-neutrality efforts.

Guest said:

1. The video files are not on the internet.

2. If this is how they to play it, then their VIOP service are also then breaching net neutrality laws. Which makes no sense.

princeton princeton said:

You guys don't have any real god damn net neutrality laws.

3DCGMODELER 3DCGMODELER said:

COMCAST S**** and NetFlix Rules The World

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings gave Comcast a quick jab on his Facebook page yesterday, accusing the company of possibly violating net neutrality principles..

I wish it would have been a couple of UPPER cuts and Face Smashers.

TJGeezer said:

I'm so tired of the old "it's their business so they can do what they want with it" line. They operate like a public utility. They have public utility mostly-hidden subsidies. They have a publicly (so they claim) legislated monopoly in their operating areas, if it still works that way. If they set all the rules too, without even a decent bribe to congress, it's just 100% gouge 100% of the time. Call it what it is and stop lying about it. Legislated monopolies are not "free enterprise," if there ever really was such a thing. They never have been, never will be.

The service under discussion is: Streamed video programs. The treatment of companies providing streams is: unequal. Does any of the ComCast streaming depend on streaming through the public Internet? If so, there's nothing fair or even-handed about it. If they want to keep accepting congressional "favors" then a public that is paying a large part of the tab has a right to be angry.

Write to your congress member and include a check for several million $$, and maybe some office flunky will take you seriously if it doesn't bounce.

If ComCast streams are cable-only with no links through the Internet, and if people can go to ISP competitors if ComCast's selective video stream gouging angers them, well... customers walking away might change the corporate policy. (Or not. They'll have gone elsewhere, so what do they care?)

Just stop pretending principles of free enterprise have anything to do with ComCast.

Guest said:

It is a monopoly. Why then can't I have a choice between different ISP's in my area and only limited to one? They know this and will charge and set their rules knowing you can't go elsewhere. So Netflix you are losing customers just because potential customers will exceed their band-width limit.

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