Comcast Thinks Data Caps Shouldn't Apply To Its Xbox Streaming Service

This week, Microsoft is adding new streaming video applications from HBO Go, Major League Baseball and Xfinity from Comcast. And while announcing that new streaming video service, Xfinity’s overlord Comcast say the traffic from the streaming video service won’t count against Comcast’s 250GB monthly data cap.

That’s ruffling the feathers of some network neutrality advocates, reports Ars Technica.

Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn said in an emailed statement that the new policy “raises questions not only of the justification for the caps but, more importantly, of the survival of an Open Internet.”

Those worried about the Federal Communications Commission’s network neutrality regulations being compromised fear broadband providers creating a “fast lane” for content providers like Comcast to use after paying a premium.

Comcast claims that Xbox “content is being delivered over our private IP network and not the public Internet,” and acts like a set top box. As such, they say it doesn’t affect net neutrality and shouldn’t be held to data caps any more than their current video on demand service.

Public Knowledge says they’re studying Comcast’s new Xbox policy, and are still deciding whether or not to file a formal complaint with the FCC.

The Xbox itself is moving out of the arena of ordinary video game console, as the L.A. Times says the device is used more often now for streaming TV and movies or listening to music, than playing actual video games.

Microsoft says households now spend an average of 84 hours a month on the Xbox Live online service playing games, watching videos and listening to music, which is up 30% from a year ago. About half that time is spent on videos and music.

Net neutrality concerns raised about Comcast’s Xbox on Demand service [Ars Technica]
Xbox now used more for online entertainment than online gaming [L.A. Times]