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Lincroft, NJ
reply to GTFan

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

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.


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.