Comcast's Xfinity TV app has been met with controversy since it debuted on the Xbox 360, and may be the latest battleground in the conflict over net neutrality. Critics claim that the ISP is privileging its Xfinity offering above competitors like Hulu and Netflix, while Comcast denies prioritizing Xfinity traffic, and maintains that it is compliant with the FCC's net neutrality rules.
Comcast says its streaming TV service won't count against data caps because it doesn't use the internet
Stream TV won't use up your bandwidth, either
The US Department of Justice is investigating cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable, among others, to see if they're acting unfairly towards the online video services they host on their networks.
Comcast has responded to allegations that it privileges content for its Xfinity app for the Xbox 360 over competitors like Netflix, claiming that it does not prioritize its own content and that it is in compliance with the FCC's open internet principles.
A detailed study from technical infrastructure expert Bryan Berg reveals that Comcast may be prioritizing traffic for its own Xfinity app for Xbox 360 over other services, like Netflix — which, if accurate, would be a textbook violation of net neutrality principles.
Senator Al Franken has called for the Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission to investigate Comcast's policy of not counting Xfinity On Demand streaming towards customers' total quota, something he says will drive customers away from competing video services.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has made a second Facebook post complaining about the unfair treatment of services like Netflix under Comcast's data caps. Unlike offerings from other streaming services, data used by Comcast's own Xfinity offering doesn't count toward subscribers' caps.
The FCC says that the "Open Internet" is open because "it treats all traffic that flows across the network in roughly the same way" — so Comcast's decision to privilege its Xfinity On Demand service for Xbox 360 with free data, while requiring other apps like Netflix and Hulu to count against customer data caps, would appear to directly violate the spirit of the FCC's net neutrality efforts.
Users of the forthcoming Comcast Xfinity TV on demand app will be able to stream as much content as they want without it counting against their broadband data caps.