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
"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."