Netflix CEO Attacks Comcast Over Net Neutrality Issues
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings penned a Facebook post that takes Comcast to task on the topic of network neutrality related to data caps and the Xbox 360.
Sometimes an official company blog post just isn’t enough. That’s apparently the sentiment behind Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’ latest screed, which takes Comcast to task on the topic of network neutrality.
The post essentially sheds light on Comcast’s data cap rules and how they apply to some video content consumption (Netflix and others), but not Comcast’s own Xfinity app.
“Comcast no longer following net neutrality principles. Comcast should apply caps equally, or not at all. I spent the weekend enjoying four good Internet video apps on my Xbox: Netflix, HBO GO, Xfinity, and Hulu,” Hastings wrote. “When I watch video on my Xbox from three of these four apps, it counts against my Comcast Internet cap. When I watch through Comcast’s Xfinity app, however, it does not count against my Comcast Internet cap.”
Last month, it was revealed that customers who subscribe to Comcast’s Xfinity TV service for the Xbox 360 won’t be charged for the service’s data use against the ISP’s 250GB monthly cap. Comcast’s Xfinity TV service was announced last October with Comcast, Verizon FiOS service, and a host of content providers, including HBO.
“The Xbox 360 running our XFINITY TV app essentially acts as an additional cable box for your existing cable service, and our data usage threshold does not apply,” according to Comcast’s FAQ page.
Hastings was not convinced. “For example, if I watch last night’s SNL episode on my Xbox through the Hulu app, it eats up about one gigabyte of my cap, but if I watch that same episode through the Xfinity Xbox app, it doesn’t use up my cap at all,” he wrote. “The same device, the same IP address, the same WiFi, the same Internet connection, but totally different cap treatment. In what way is this neutral?”
Just last month Hastings used Facebook to call out Comcast in regards to accessing HBO GO on the Xbox. Then, a week later, Comcast announced that the HBO Go would be coming to the Xfinity customers using the Xbox.
Washington, D.C-based consumer group Free Press has already criticized Comcast for the discrepancy. “Not counting this video against a Comcast customer’s monthly data limit gives the Comcast product an unfair advantage against other Internet video services,” Free Press policy director Matt Wood said last month. “Unfortunately, such anti-competitive tricks may be allowed by loopholes in the FCC’s Open Internet rules, proving once again that the FCC failed to deliver on the promise of real Net Neutrality.”
Comcast did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
By Adario Strange, PCMag