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Comcast Breaking Neutrality Conditions of NBC Merger?
Critics Charge ISP is Prioritizing Own Streaming Content
by Karl Bode 09:07AM Thursday May 10 2012
As part of the regulatory conditions that allowed Comcast to acquire NBC Universal, the company agreed on several neutrality stipulations. One was that the company wouldn't exempt any of its own content services from the cap -- one they appear to have already violated recently when they decided to not let their Xfinity content on the 360 count against the cap. Comcast also promised not to prioritize their own content over a competing product, but several people who've been analyzing Comcast traffic using Wireshark suggest they're breaking this promise as well:
The bottom line: Comcast built an Internet video streaming service. In certain cases, it exempted that service from bandwidth caps despite evidence that those streams are actually more expensive to deliver. It even appears that Comcast is prioritizing its own video streams over the other services.
It's great people are watching Comcast, but at the same time we've noted for years that crying neutrality wolf can sometimes do more harm than good. There's more than a few people who've been making noise over this, though the jury is remains out without full data analysis. The DSCP (& IP PREC) tags can be used for simple traffic accounting, and don't automatically prove that Comcast is acting anti-competitively. However, given Comcast's history on this front we're sure we'll see some additional analysis in the coming weeks. Comcast has yet to comment.