Netflix Founder Hastings on Comcast Xbox Policy: 'In What Way is This Neutral?'

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Netflix founder Reed Hastings vented on his Facebook page Sunday about Comcast’s policy of not counting xBox video VOD downloads toward its usage caps, while applying downloads of other services like, well, Netflix.

“Comcast [is] no longer following net neutrality principles,” he wrote. “Comcast should apply caps equally, or not at all. I spent the weekend enjoying four good internet video apps on my Xbox: Netflix, HBO GO, Xfinity, and Hulu. When I watch video on my Xbox from three of these four apps, it counts against my Comcast internet cap. When I watch through Comcast’s Xfinity app, however, it does not count against my Comcast internet cap.

The same device, the same IP address, the same wi fi, the same internet connection, but totally different cap treatment. In what way is this neutral?”

Comcast argues that because the Xbox video does not travel over the public Internet, the company is in compliance with FCC network neutrality rules, which have a carve-out for private networks.

“Comcast is committed to an open Internet and has pledged to abide by the FCC’s Open Internet rules — and our policies with respect to XfinityTV and the Xbox 360 fully comply with those rules and our commitments,” the company said in a statement when it first caught flak from public-interest groups for the Xfinity policy. “Any XfinityTV service that travels over the public Internet, including XfinityTV.com and our Xfinity TV app on mobile devices, counts toward our data usage threshold, as they always have. The Xfinity On Demand content that we will deliver to Xbox 360 will not travel over the public Internet and is delivered in much the same way as we deliver your video service to your set-top box. Your Xbox 360 essentially acts as an additional cable box for your existing cable service via the Xbox 360. As a result, our data caps do not apply.”

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