Comcast announced their Xfinity streaming app for the Xbox 360 not long ago, allowing you to stream content from Comcast for free as part of your internet and TV package. The company also said that whatever you stream to your XBox 360 won’t count towards the 250GB data cap. Good news for customers planning to make use of the service, but what about the deeper implications to net neutrality?
Comcast have taken fire from Public Knowledge over the decision, although the ISP claim that they’re not violating FCC rules. Comcast say that they are “committed to an open internet” and will “abide by the FCC’s Open Internet rules.” Their rationale is that Xfinity does not travel over public internet, with the Xbox 360 instead acting “as an additional cable box for your existing cable service.”
Free Press have also criticized Comcast over the move, although they note that a loophole would allow Comcast to avoid any formal complaint made to the FCC. Matt Wood, policy director for Free Press, says that not counting the video streaming against the monthly data cap “gives the Comcast product an unfair advantage against other Internet video services.” He goes on to criticize the FCC for failing “to deliver on the promise of real Net Neutrality”
The current net neutrality rules prohibit ISPs from deliberately blocking or throttling legal internet traffic. However, it doesn’t stop ISPs like Comcast from offering faster access to specific companies or services, like gaming or video streaming.