Comcast Replies to Content Prioritization Claims

| May 16, 2012

A little over a week ago I wrote a post about Democrat Al Franken and his letter to the FCC and DOJ. The letter asked them to investigate Comcast’s new service that enabled Xfinity customers to stream On Demand on their Xbox, but without having to worry about their bandwidth cap. Al Franken, along with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and many others, felt that this created an unfair advantage and that Comcast was violating Net Neutrality rules.

Yesterday, Comcast wrote a blog post to explain how the service works to prove that their not prioritizing their service.

Rather than delivering this content in the traditional way we deliver our cable services (which is often referred to as video over QAM) or delivering it over the Internet (as, for example, a Netflix or Hulu Plus would do), we are sending that cable service using IP technology to the Xbox over our managed network.

Specifically, we provision a separate, additional bandwidth flow into the home for the use of this service — above and beyond, and distinct from, the bandwidth a customer has for his or her regular Internet access service.

In other words, streaming On Demand via your Xbox won’t be done over the same connection as your cable internet, but instead a dedicated IP based connection for Xbox streaming.

That’s how Comcast is able to claim that they’re not prioritizing their service over other content/ internet providers. The connection isn’t being used for general internet access, but instead, it’s a special cable service delivered in a totally different format.

It’s really important to us that we make crystal clear that, in contrast to some other providers, we are not prioritizing our transmission of Xfinity TV content to the Xbox (as some have speculated).

I don’t agree with this. While I would love not to have bandwidth caps and be able to use the internet as much as I’d like with no consequences, I think that if you have internet service, that all things you do using the internet should fall under the caps, rules and T&Cs of that service.

I would imagine that guys like Al Franken, Reed Hastings and Sony agree. But for now it seems as if Comcast has found a loophole and they’re going to take full advantage of it.

[Comcast Voices & Tech Crunch]

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