Comcast Is Not Trying to Kill Net Neutrality, Says Larry Downes (12:41)

Posted on by Abby Johnson |

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Comcast recently came under fire for net neutrality concerns after it made an announcement about its soon-to-be-released video streaming service, Xfinity. The cable company said that it would not count the television programming users access through their Xbox against their monthly data cap.

Although many consumers took the announcement as good news, several media activists spoke out saying that the move threatens the open Internet. Public Knowledge is one of the groups speaking out against the move saying that Comcast is violating the “spirit of net neutrality” and has an unfair advantage over other video streaming services.

Larry Downes, who is a senior adjunct fellow at Tech Freedom, told WebProNews that these claims are unwarranted from both a legal and technical standpoint. According to him, if Comcast is discriminating against services such as Netflix and Hulu, then all cable TV competes with Internet video.

Downes explained that these groups often label new services as having net neutrality concerns when the competition isn’t completely clear. He thinks that they should let the market do its job and see if there are any real anticompetitive issues.

In response to the opposition, Comcast released to us the following statement:

“Our treatment of the Xfinity services being delivered through an Xbox is wholly consistent with our commitment to maintaining an open Internet and with the FCC’s Open Internet Order.  Our standard is clear. If we are delivering a traditional cable service on a Title VI basis, where the customer is already paying us for that service, and all we are doing is delivering it in IP over our managed network through a different device that effectively serves as an additional outlet in the house, then we don’t believe it should count against their data usage threshold.  There is no ‘discrimination’ here – remember, we do count customer use of XfinityTV.com, the Xfinity TV app and nbc.com against data usage threshold standards (because that’s not a Title VI service being delivered only in the home).”

What do you think? Is net neutrality at risk? Let us know.

Posted in: Analysis, Network Neutrality, News, Online Video, Open Web
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