Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Xfinity for Xbox: A glimpse of net neutrality dangers

Cable provider Comcast is raising net neutrality ire over its statement on Monday that data streamed over Xbox Live's Xfinity on-demand service won't count towards customers' data caps, whereas all other services coming through their Comcast line will.

It sounds like Comcast is breaking off a piece for the consumer, but net neutrality experts who spoke to Ars Technica are saying this kind of favoritism is risky behavior.

The forthcoming Xfinity on-demand service for Xbox Live seems to be a perfect fit - except when it's plopped next to all the other content services on its dashboard. Comcast's classification of the service as an "extra set-top box" means they feel it's prudent to ignore the data cap obeyed by all its other VOD services.

Comcast claims that the on-demand content is served through their private IP network and not the public internet, making it an "IP-managed service."

Ars refers to an ill portent from the FCC's 2010 Netflix hearing when Netflix warned the commission about a clause in the net neutrality legalese that places IP-managed services above net neutrality laws.

Gigi Sohn, president of net neutrality watchdog group Public Knowledge, says Comcast knows exactly what they're doing here.
"The Xbox 360 provides a number of video services to compete for customer dollars, yet only one service is not counted against the data cap—the one provided by Comcast." she said. "This is nothing less than a wake-up call to the Commission to show it is serious about protecting the Open Internet."
Go read Ars' article to get a sneak peek at what a "Closed" Internet could bring.

VIA: Gizmodo
SOURCE: Ars Technica

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