dslreports logo
site
 
    All Forums Hot Topics Gallery
spc

spacer




how-to block ads


Search Topic:
uniqs
5
share rss forum feed


telcodad
Premium
join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:15
reply to AndyDufresne

Re: Comcast Xfinity for Xbox launching soon (possibly next week)

Looks like Public Knowledge has a "Net Neutrality Issue" with this not counting against the 250GB data cap:

From: Comcast Won't 'Cap' Xbox 360 Access (Updated with Objections)
The Philadelphia Inquirer - March 26, 2012
»www.philly.com/philly/business/t···256.html

"Update: Just received a statement this afternoon from the Washington, D.C. based communications watchdog group Public Knowledge, suggesting that Comcast's favored nation treatment for streaming Xfinity TV runs counter to the principals of "net neutrality." Here it is:

------------------------------------------

Public Knowledge Sees Net Neutrality Issue With Comcast Product

The following is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and CEO of Public Knowledge:

"The reports that Comcast is offering a video product through the Xbox 360 without the data counting toward the customer's data cap raises questions not only of the justification for the caps but, more importantly, of the survival of an Open Internet.

"This type of arrangement is exactly the type of situation the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) rules on the Open Internet were designed to prevent -- that an Internet Service Provider juggles the rules to give itself an advantage over a competitor.

"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.

"This is nothing less than a wake-up call to the Commission to show it is serious about protecting the Open Internet. It also shows, once again, that the Commission should take the first steps toward understanding data caps."

###"


telcodad
Premium
join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:15
OK, I can see why use of CDV does not use up any of your HSI service's 250GB data cap, as it is a separate service and uses separate QAM carriers than the HSI service.

However, doesn't the XBox 360 VoD service utilize the same downstream QAM carriers as the HSI service?

If so, then why it it OK for someone to "hog" the neighborhood HSI bandwidth by constantly streaming videos through their XBox 360, but not if they're streaming videos from Netflix?

kmax

join:2009-03-27
Was never really about the bandwidth, but the content.

With that said, Comcast has smart people. They know that the majority have STB's that can access on demand services much easier than a Xbox 360 user.

At the same time they know they can't become irrelevant in the online game in regards to streaming. Hulu, Netflix, etc. This is from a customer retention or attraction perspective.

In short, a value add that probably won't measure a blip on their bandwidth radar yet will be quite an attraction for many customers...even though many will never utilize it.


telcodad
Premium
join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:15
said by kmax:

Was never really about the bandwidth, but the content.

Yes, most of us are aware of that, it's just that Comcast says that they only impose the data cap so that data hogs don't disproportionately consume network resources, cause congestion and impact internet performance for their other customers.

A good article on this is:

Are bandwidth caps about easing congestion, or protecting television?
Digital Trends - February 16, 2012
»www.digitaltrends.com/computing/···evision/


telcodad
Premium
join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:15
PC Magazine has an article tonight on this XBox 360 VoD issue:

Comcast's Xfinity-on-Xbox Plans Draw Net Neutrality Fire
PC Magazine - March 26, 2012
»www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2402149,00.asp

"Comcast has indicated that customers who subscribe to its upcoming Xfinity TV service for the Xbox 360 won't be charged for the service's data use against their cap, which one agency has criticized as a violation of network neutrality laws.

In a FAQ, Comcast said that the Xfinity TV data service on the Xbox 360 will move data on a private IP network, and will not count against the Comcast acceptable usage policy, which caps residential customers at 250 Gbytes of data per month.

"No, since the content is being delivered over our private IP network and not the public Internet, it does not count against a customer's bandwidth cap," according to the FAQ (»xbox.comcast.net/faqs.html). "XFINITYTV.com and the XFINITY TV app stream content over the public Internet and count toward the customer's bandwidth cap."

According to Comcast, just 1 percent of its customers bump up against the cap, with most of its customers downloading and uploading content at 10 Gbytes or less per month.

Comcast's Xfinity TV service was announced last October with both Comcast, Verizon FiOS service, and a host of content providers including HBO. Although it's live on Verizon, the Xbox 360/Comcast partnership has yet to launch, so Comcast has yet to actually route content over its IP network to the service. So far, both services have emphasized prerecorded, on-demand content, rather than live streaming.

But some are already calling Comcast's actions a violation of the net neutrality laws.

"Comcast tries to justify preferred treatment for its own video on the Xbox 360 by claiming that the content is delivered over a private IP network rather than the public Internet," Free Press policy director Matt Wood said in a statement. "But not counting this video against a Comcast customer's monthly data limit gives the Comcast product an unfair advantage against other Internet video services. 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."

The FCC approved its net neutrality rules in December. The concept argues that no one ISP, site, or service, should be favored over any other. After Comcast was accused of blocking P2P sites, however, the FCC decided to craft rules that would ban ISPs from discriminating based on content as well.

Comcast requires Xfinity TV customers who wish to use its Xbox service to subscribe to both television and Internet data services. Comcast doesn't allow a customer to use DSL in conjunction with Comcast video services, as the data modem is used to identify that the customer is in the home, the FAQ said.

"We are working on a solution that will enable customers to receive the content without an XFINITY Internet subscription, but can't comment on timing yet," Comcast added.

The Xfinity app will also work with the Microsoft Kinect peripheral.

Comcast will also roll out a Comcast-enabled TiVo box in the coming months, first launching in the Bay Area."


telcodad
Premium
join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:15
reply to telcodad
said by telcodad:

OK, I can see why use of CDV does not use up any of your HSI service's 250GB data cap, as it is a separate service and uses separate QAM carriers than the HSI service.

However, doesn't the XBox 360 VoD service utilize the same downstream QAM carriers as the HSI service?

If so, then why it it OK for someone to "hog" the neighborhood HSI bandwidth by constantly streaming videos through their XBox 360, but not if they're streaming videos from Netflix?

OK, Todd Spangler, in his blog today on the Multichannel News site (»www.multichannel.com/blog/BIT_RA···ork_.php), states:

"Comcast is delivering VOD to Xboxes over its own network (not the Internet), and its using IP instead of [a VoD video] QAM as the transport mechanism."

So, then that confirms to me that Comcast is using their HSI downstream QAMs to deliver this service. Therefore, all the XBox 360 VoD users in my neighborhood will be "hogging" the HSI bandwidth I need for my own mundane web-surfing, emailing, etc. activities!

The statements of "Comcast is delivering VOD to Xboxes over its own network (not the Internet)" don't jive with Comcast's statements that that they only impose the data cap so that data hogs don't disproportionately consume network resources, cause congestion and impact internet performance for their other customers, on their own internal HFC networks.

Comcast never implied that the problem with the "Netflix data hogs" was with them getting the data off the internet.


tshirt
Premium,MVM
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5
They could be selling this over differnt IP channels than either resi. or Biz HSI uses, not so different than voice using private/non-public channels

GTFan

join:2004-12-03
There are no 'different IP channels', so I have no idea what you're talking about. They're streaming from Comcast's internal servers yes, but everything comes down the same QAM channels to your modem (and then to your LAN-attached Xbox and PCs) whether it's from Netflix or Comcast.

I am very glad to see that this is getting the attention it deserves - I hope the FCC gets interested too. I certainly expect Netflix to take action if they don't.


telcodad
Premium
join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:15
reply to tshirt
said by tshirt:

They could be selling this over differnt IP channels than either resi. or Biz HSI uses, not so different than voice using private/non-public channels

I didn't think so - doesn't the XBox just get connected to your home network, just like any other IP device you might have?

GTFan

join:2004-12-03
yes, exactly.


telcodad
Premium
join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:15
OK, so how does Comcast discriminate between the XBox bits and your other IP device bits, so as not to count the XBox ones against the 250GB/mo cap?

Do they meter the capacity used from the "XBox VoD app" server and just subtract that figure from your total HSI data usage?

GTFan

join:2004-12-03
said by telcodad:

OK, so how does Comcast discriminate between the XBox bits and your other IP device bits, so as not to count the XBox ones against the 250GB/mo cap?

Because it's hitting designated Comcast internal IPs, which they will whitelist in the cap (i.e. not count).


telcodad
Premium
join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:15
Jeff Baumgartner on the Light Reading Cable site had this comment on the issue:

From: Comcast's Xbox App Raises Net Neutrality Concerns
Light Reading Cable - March 27, 2012
»www.lightreading.com/document.as···r_cable&

"So, at what point do these groups start pointing the finger at any SP that delivers video over a managed IP network and doesn't apply those services toward any sort of data cap? Might as well toss AT&T into that group, along with a bunch of other telcos that are offering managed IPTV services. Though they'd be wrong to do so.

The other interesting aspect here is that MSOs like Comcast will have to embrace IP video if they are to get their services, including linear TV, onto more CE platforms like Roku and the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii, not to mention connected TVs. So if managed IP video is the vehicle to get cable services available on more retail devices without an MSO-supplied set-top, it seems a tad ironic that PK and Free Press are trying to lump net neutrality into this when they have been among those pushing for cable to do a better job at supporting services on retail CE devices.

If Comcast reversed course and said it was going to start applying data from managed IP video toward a cap, I think there would be an absolute uproar. After the P2P fiasco from awhile back, I would think Free Press and PK would give Comcast some credit here for being transparent about its policy for Xfinity TV on the Xbox 360, though I am certainly interested in hearing more about how Comcast is going about it, technically speaking.

But I'll admit that this will cause some confusion for customers, who are now supposed to figure out which apps on the Xbox 360 count against a usage cap (ie. Netflix) and which ones don't. I doubt that the average consumer knows the difference between OTT and managed IP video, or would even care to know."


EG
The wings of love
Premium
join:2006-11-18
Union, NJ
kudos:10
Check out what one CC employee is saying about this in their Help Forums. Specifically message #5;

»forums.comcast.com/t5/Customer-S···3#M20882


telcodad
Premium
join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:15
So, the question is - at what point is the problem where frequent Netflix users "cause congestion and impact internet performance for [Comcast's] other customers" requiring the imposition of a monthly data cap?

Is it somewhere inside the local HFC plant, or where Comcast interfaces to the public internet?


JohnInSJ
Premium
join:2003-09-22
Aptos, CA
said by telcodad:

So, the question is - at what point is the problem where frequent Netflix users "cause congestion and impact internet performance for [Comcast's] other customers" requiring the imposition of a monthly data cap?

Is it somewhere inside the local HFC plant, or where Comcast interfaces to the public internet?

It is where the CDN dumps the Netflix traffic onto the comcast network. Like I said, easy to explain to anyone who knows how networks work.
--
My place : »www.schettino.us


tshirt
Premium,MVM
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to telcodad
Couldn't the xbox request program 12983 be sent specific IP and port, while this is via IP I don't think CC(or any other ISP) has ever said ALL their available IP bandwidth will be dedicated to HSI delivery.
The network neutrality "pledge"* only applies to the 250GB's included in your residential package with various prices based on the speed you want to use it.

You might have a better case if you are a biz HSI and TV user where your HSI doesn't currently have a cap (keep pushing, they'll change that) and the ToS is different (not sure biz TV includes ON demand products)

CC and the rest of the industry spent a lot increasing total capacity via D3 upgrades (and other emerging tech), and they don't intend to just give it away.
They will continue to find other services (voice, home security, etc) to pay back and even profit from that investment, and many of them will be via the "private IP space".


telcodad
Premium
join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:15
reply to JohnInSJ
said by JohnInSJ:

It is where the CDN dumps the Netflix traffic onto the comcast network. Like I said, easy to explain to anyone who knows how networks work.

OK, so if that is truly where Comcast's HSI data bandwidth bottleneck is, then yes, Netflix video streaming IP traffic could be a problem, while internally-sourced Comcast VoD IP traffic would be fine.

In that case, applying the 250GB/mo cap to only the non-Comcast-originated VoD IP content would make sense.


JohnInSJ
Premium
join:2003-09-22
Aptos, CA
reply to tshirt
said by tshirt:


You might have a better case if you are a biz HSI and TV user where your HSI doesn't currently have a cap (keep pushing, they'll change that) and the ToS is different (not sure biz TV includes ON demand products)

It was my understanding (I am not sure, so take it for what its worth) that xfinity xbox app/service was only available for residential vid + res HSI customers.
--
My place : »www.schettino.us


telcodad
Premium
join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:15
reply to telcodad
said by telcodad:

OK, Todd Spangler, in his blog today on the Multichannel News site (»www.multichannel.com/blog/BIT_RA···ork_.php), states:

"Comcast is delivering VOD to Xboxes over its own network (not the Internet), and its using IP instead of [a VoD video] QAM as the transport mechanism."

So, then that confirms to me that Comcast is using their HSI downstream QAMs to deliver this service. Therefore, all the XBox 360 VoD users in my neighborhood will be "hogging" the HSI bandwidth I need for my own mundane web-surfing, emailing, etc. activities!

The statements of "Comcast is delivering VOD to Xboxes over its own network (not the Internet)" don't jive with Comcast's statements that that they only impose the data cap so that data hogs don't disproportionately consume network resources, cause congestion and impact internet performance for their other customers, on their own internal HFC networks.

Comcast never implied that the problem with the "Netflix data hogs" was with them getting the data off the internet.

A comment posted tonight by Phillip Dampier of Stopthecap.com, in response to Todd Spangler's blog post:

"I don't see a whole lot of opposition to Comcast not capping Xbox content. What consumer groups like ours are opposed to is the fact they are still capping everyone else. Comcast is the same company that complained pre-DOCSIS 3 its 250GB cap was to maintain an even customer experience for its shared broadband network and to prevent last mile congestion.

DOCSIS 3 solved that problem, and Comcast has no problem finding unlimited capacity for its Xbox service. But somehow, mysteriously, they still need a 250GB cap on residential broadband service? Amazing that. Apparently last mile congestion is only a problem when you want it to be. Data is data is data. How you treat it and how much capacity you make available to handle it makes all the difference, and that is where the problem is. Plenty of space for Xbox, last mile congestion threat for broadband. It doesn't add up.'

Comcast can solve this PR dilemma in a second by simply removing its 250GB usage cap. It can then do whatever it wants with its network and not have a thing to worry about from consumer advocates like ourselves who see right through the Swiss Cheese holes in their logic for a usage cap they just proved they don't actually need."

Phillip Dampier
Stopthecap.com

GTFan

join:2004-12-03
Nail hit on head.


JohnInSJ
Premium
join:2003-09-22
Aptos, CA
said by GTFan:

Nail hit on head.

With a fish. Since comcast pays peering charges to receive netflix traffic, and pays itself $0 to stream video inside its own network, this is a great apples to guppies comparison.
--
My place : »www.schettino.us


telcodad
Premium
join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:15
reply to GTFan
said by GTFan:

Nail hit on head.

Yes, here are some reader comments to an item on the Slashdot site (»tech.slashdot.org/story/12/03/28···idth-cap) about this issue:

SilentChasm writes:
The problem is the reason for the bandwidth caps to begin with was that the last mile was the weak link (cable being shared, your heavy usage affected your neighbors, thus the cap to get you to limit yourself). Now they want to put data from their service over that same link, causing the same congestion problems but not counting it towards the cap. This limits the spread of competing services that might use enough bandwidth to hit the cap.

Either congestion on the last mile is a problem requiring caps or it isn't. It shouldn't matter what's in the data packets or where they're from.


nolife writes:
They have inconsistent acceptable use policies with data transfers or different definitions of public and local network bandwidth? I don't know, I am more confused now.

This is from »customer.comcast.com/help-and-su···essive22 [comcast.com] stating that the cap indeed still applies for XfinityTV.com which I would assume is on the Comcast local network just like the Xbox service. It was last updated 3/9/2012.

"Q: Does the Comcast Usage Meter measure data that I consume from XfinityTV.com?

A: Yes. XfinityTV.com is an Internet web service from Comcast that you receive using your XFINITY Internet service. Comcast treats its affiliated services the same as it treats any unaffiliated services that you use your XFINITY Internet service to access. All data that travels over the public Internet on our high-speed Internet service (and all data that XFINITY Internet users send to one another using the service) is counted toward the monthly Data Usage Threshold, regardless of the source."


Lorien_the_first_one writes:
I think the point is abundantly clear in the following article:

»readersupportednews.org/pm-secti···s-a-ruse [readersupportednews.org]

Designate Comcast as a common carrier and watch how fast they split their business between content and carriage. For as long as Comcast is connected to a public network carrying data from other networks to their customers, they are a common carrier, no matter what the FCC says. If Comcast wants to remain a private network, they can cut their connection to the Internet and provide their own content to their users.


MobyDisk writes:
Part of the deal to purchase NBC Universal required that Comcast offer equal access to NBC content over other networks. But making it free bandwidth for your customers, but not for other customers, seems to violate the intent of that requirement while perhaps adhering to the letter of it.

*This* is why you cannot have one company as the service provider and the content provider.

Prior to the merger, the justice department released a Competitive Impact Statement [justice.gov] which is concerned with Comcast not allowing access to NBC (and others) content. But it did not consider the possibility of Comcast offering special benefits to the content for their subscribers. Now that I think about it, nothing stops Comcast from offering content cheaper, faster, better quality, in 3D, etc.

Comcast's web site has the regulatory approval document [comcast.com] which explains their limitations. It doesn't seem to specifically say they can't do this, but it looks like other people figured they couldn't do this. This blog entry from Mediapost [mediapost.com] says that the ruling:

"Does not disadvantage rival online video distribution through its broadband Internet access services and/or set-top boxes. Does not enter into agreements to unreasonably restrict online distribution of its own video programming or programming of other providers."

So I think most people believed that this was illegal.

GTFan

join:2004-12-03
Mandating common carrier status and allowing access to allow comers is indeed the answer to the HSI monopoly/duopoly problem, and is exactly what Europe and Asia have done with great success. People seem to forget that these lines were built with government protection and subsidies.

Unfortunately our Congress (and by extension, FCC) are bought and paid for, so this will likely never happen.

GTFan

join:2004-12-03
reply to JohnInSJ
said by JohnInSJ:

said by GTFan:

Nail hit on head.

With a fish. Since comcast pays peering charges to receive netflix traffic, and pays itself $0 to stream video inside its own network, this is a great apples to guppies comparison.

The point you missed was that the justification for the cap was to keep the last mile clear for all users. If the Xbox can eat all it wants, that argument is no longer valid.

GTFan

join:2004-12-03
I believe the smoking gun that will reverse this exemption from cap for the Xbox can be found in the FCC's approval of the Comcast-NBCU merger. Specifically, sections 94-97 starting at page 38 which prohibit Comcast from favoring it's own IP video delivery (via cap or otherwise) vs. unaffiliated content.

See order here and read for yourself. Yes, it's lengthy but readable.

»hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/a···-4A1.pdf

Russ6

join:2011-03-17
Houston, TX
kudos:1
Comcast, Time Warner Cable don't go for HBO Go on Xbox

By Dan O'Shea
Fierce Cable
March 28, 2012

Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) subscribers undoubtedly were happy this week when they found out that Xfinity on Demand content delivered over their Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) Xbox would not count toward their bandwidth usage caps. But, it turns out that Comcast and Microsoft may not be best buddies just yet, and that Comcast still wants to maintain control over what content Xbox viewers are allowed to see and how.

HBO Go launched on Xbox yesterday, but neither Comcast nor Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) users are allowing access to it via Xbox. HBO Go is available through most Xbox service provider partners, but not these companies in particular, though their users can get access to HBO on Demand.

Comcast does offer HBO content through its mobile TV viewing applications, and may be trying to steer users to its own applications, and more specifically to its Xfinity on Demand Xbox application, which reportedly was set to launch this week and may include more HBO content.

»links.mkt1985.com/ctt?kn=190&ms=···t=1&rt=0

For more:
-read this post at The Verge:
»links.mkt1985.com/ctt?kn=154&ms=···t=1&rt=0
--
SA 8300 HD DVRs with Patched S25 Guide
Links:
'S25 Guide Blog' 'Schedule' 'Info' 'Patch Thread'


JohnInSJ
Premium
join:2003-09-22
Aptos, CA
reply to GTFan
said by GTFan:

said by JohnInSJ:

said by GTFan:

Nail hit on head.

With a fish. Since comcast pays peering charges to receive netflix traffic, and pays itself $0 to stream video inside its own network, this is a great apples to guppies comparison.

The point you missed was that the justification for the cap was to keep the last mile clear for all users. If the Xbox can eat all it wants, that argument is no longer valid.

I did miss where comcast officially listed that as the purpose of the cap. I believe they have a congestion management system in place for the last mile.
--
My place : »www.schettino.us


telcodad
Premium
join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:15
reply to telcodad
Michael Powell, former Chairman of the FCC and now the head of the NCTA, not surprising, disagrees with Public Knowledge's alarm at the cap exclusion - "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished – Washington Advocacy Run Amok" (»www.cabletechtalk.com/tech-discu···un-amok/).

Public Knowledge has, in turn, posted their response to his:

Michael Powell Works the Ref On The XBox360 Play
By Harold Feld, Public Knowledge - March 29, 2012
»www.publicknowledge.org/blog/mic···360-play

An excerpt:

"Michael Powell, former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and now the head of the National Cable Telecommunications Association (NCTA), professes confusion and consternation at our raising the alarm about Comcast’s decision to exempt its Xfinity app for the XBox360 from its 250 GB bandwidth cap. Rather than addressing the issue, Powell basically argues that the only reason PK (or anyone else) could possibly see anything here to worry about is because we're either crazy alarmists or because we are "trying to get another bite at the regulatory apple." In sports, we refer to this kind of behavior as 'working the ref.'

Happily, we don’t have to take PK’s word for it that this kind of conduct raises some pretty serious competition questions worthy of examination. The Department of Justice Antitrust Division (DoJ) explained why conduct like this raises alarm bells back when Comcast bought NBCU last year. In fact, DoJ even put a merger condition directly on point. Ah yes, here it is:

"If Comcast offers consumers Internet Access Service under a package that includes caps, tiers, metering, or other usage-based pricing, it shall not measure, count, or otherwise treat Defendants’ affiliated network traffic differently from unaffiliated network traffic. Comcast shall not prioritize Defendants’ Video Programming or other content over other Persons’ Video Programming or other content." (Emphasis added)

You’ll note, btw, that the condition refers to “network traffic” and makes no distinction between whether the “network traffic” is running over the “public Internet” or Comcast’s “private IP network.” It also does not require malicious intent on the part of Comcast. There’s a reason for that. As the DoJ explained in its competitive impact statement and in the Complaint, the combined Comcast/NBCU would have enormous incentive to protect its highly lucrative cable subscription and video-on-demand service from competition from online video distributors (OVDs). Because Comcast is both an MVPD and a broadband access provider, Comcast might set rules on the broadband access side that give an advantage to its traditional cable and VoD services – such as counting competing services against the bandwidth cap but not its own services.

(I’ll note in passing that the FCC reached similar conclusions and has a similar but somewhat differently worded version of this condition in its Order permitting Comcast to buy NBCU, but since it is fashionable in some circles these days to dismiss the FCC (particularly on the subject of net neutrality) as a tin plated over bearing swaggering dictator with delusions of godhood, I shall leave them out of this for the moment. We’ll just stick with the acknowledged experts on pure antitrust at DoJ who saw that Comcast might do something exactly like this and regarded it as a danger to OVD competition.)

Whether Comcast’s decision to architect its system this way actually violates the Comcast/NBCU consent decree, the FCC Merger Order, or the Open Internet rules, I leave as an open question for the moment. If we brush aside Powell’s posturing, we get to a substantive legal argument at the very bottom of his blog post. Powell argues that Comcast’s video streaming on Xbox is essentially the same as using a third-party Cablecard enabled device except instead of using Cablecard, it uses IP. Accordingly, whatever competitive advantage the Xfinity app has because other services trigger the cap is nothing new, and is already permitted under the rules that allow a bandwidth cap in the first place. That’s a perfectly valid argument to make, although I don’t know if it carries the day."


telcodad
Premium
join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:15
Looks like Comcast is starting to do some "wordsmithing" in order to defuse this controversy:

Comcast updates Xbox FAQ, cuts reference to its ‘private IP network’
GigaOM - March 29, 2012
»gigaom.com/video/comcast-xbox-faq-update/

"Earlier this week Comcast came under fire for possible net neutrality violations after it was revealed that streams of on-demand video that it delivers to subscribers via Xbox Live won’t count toward its monthly 250 GB bandwidth cap. Well, the way Comcast delivers that content hasn’t changed, but the language it uses to describe the delivery method has been updated, perhaps in an effort to draw less attention to the issue.

For those who forgot, the pertinent part of the FAQ previously tried to distinguish its VOD streams from those of competing video services like Netflix and Hulu Plus, saying that its content on Xbox was “being delivered over our private IP network and not the public Internet.” As a result, since Comcast’s Xbox Live streams are essentially a managed service being delivered and cached throughout its own in-network CDN, the cable company argued that those bits wouldn’t count towards the cap.

That was seen as anticompetitive by many, especially since Netflix streams — and even those from TV Everywhere partners like HBO and others — do count against the cap. And it reeked of possible net neutrality violations, for providing favored access to its own content but not others. But the reality of the situation is a lot more nuanced, as Stacey Higginbotham wrote earlier this week.

Now it looks like Comcast is changing its tune and doing away with the whole public/private network argument altogether. The FAQ (»xbox.comcast.net/faqs.html) now reads:

Q: Will watching XFINITY TV directly on my Xbox 360 use data from my XFINITY Internet monthly data usage allowance?

A: No; similar to traditional cable television service that is delivered to the set-top box, this content doesn’t count toward our data usage threshold. 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.


Frankly, the new language doesn’t change much, especially considering those Xbox streams are delivered over IP, and aren’t that different from the streams that go to its iPad app or those that are viewed through its XfinityTV.com website. The slippery slope here is that down the line, Comcast could argue that those screens aren’t any different than what you watch on your TV, either through the Xbox or a Comcast set-top box.

It’s worth noting that the content available for Comcast’s VOD offering is different from what’s on the iPad app and website — they’re different services and Comcast has negotiated different rights for each. And they aren’t delivered in the same way: VOD runs over the internally built Comcast CDN, while iPad and web streams go over the Internet through third-party CDNs.

It’s also worth noting that what Comcast is doing isn’t that different from IP delivery of video via Verizon FiOS or AT&T’s U-Verse. And that we’ll likely see more of these types of services, especially with the introduction of new multimedia gateways that will soon route IP-based TV streams wirelessly throughout the home and onto whatever devices users want to watch them on.

For now, though, Comcast is hoping to soften the rhetoric by telling us that the Xbox isn’t any different than another set-top box. That’s cool, dudes. Just as long as you’re not saying your video is running over a private network."