Democrat Franken Asks FCC & DOJ to Investigate New Service from Comcast

| May 8, 2012

Back in March Comcast made it’s Xfinity On Demand content (service) available for streaming on the Microsoft Xbox. Users are able to get thousands of movies and TV shows and won’t have to worry about the 250 GB bandwidth cap that Comcast has had in place for residential internet service for the last couple of years.

However, other video streaming services such as Netflix feel that this is an unfair advantage and that it violates the Net Neutrality rule. In April CEO Reed Hastings made a few comments on his Facebook account:

Comcast no longer following net neutrality principles.

Comcast should apply caps equally, or not at all.

Users using an app such as Netflix will take away from a Comcast customer’s 250 GB bandwidth, and since using the On Demand on the Xbox doesn’t, people like Democrat Al Franken feels that users will be driven to use Xfinity Streampix as opposed to other video services, creating an uneven playing field for would be competitors. Sony, for example, is considering not offering it’s online TV service because they’re afraid that Comcast will impose the 250 GB cap.

But Comcast says there is no basis for any of these complaints, as they’re complying with the rules. Many of these rules stem from the merger with NBCUniversal in January 2011.

Comcast and NBCUniversal are fully complying with (indeed exceeding) the transaction orders as detailed in our recently filed Annual Compliance Report.

Comcast’s On Demand service, a service used hundreds of millions of times by our customers every month for the past several years, is indisputably part of our Title VI cable service which is not subject to the FCC’s Open Internet Rules – and we are not aware of anyone who has taken a contrary view. When Comcast streams its own services over the open Internet (including or, such streaming is subject to Comcast’s broadband Internet data usage standards. But the Xfinity app for the X-Box does not stream content over the open Internet and is also part of our Title VI cable service. As such, it is not subject to the FCC’s open internet rules.

Franken states that although Comcast may not have broken the rules “technically,” their intent is to favor their services over their competitors.

Really? That’s not obvious.

Franken wrote a letter to the FCC and DOJ this morning to ask that they take a closer look at the new service from Comcast, and that they serve significant penalties if any rules appear to have been broken.

[CNET & TechCrunch]

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