Comcast's Xfinity app for Xbox 360: a new battleground in net neutrality

New Xbox TV Experience

Comcast's Xfinity TV app has been met with controversy since it debuted on the Xbox 360, and may be the latest battleground in the conflict over net neutrality. Critics claim that the ISP is privileging its Xfinity offering above competitors like Hulu and Netflix, while Comcast denies prioritizing Xfinity traffic, and maintains that it is compliant with the FCC's net neutrality rules.

7 updates and 331 comments below.

Aug 28 9:35a

Time Warner Cable's Xbox streaming app won't count toward data caps

Time Warner Cable became the latest cable company to turn the Xbox 360 into a set-top box yesterday with the release of an app that lets its customers stream up to 300 live channels. It may have also became the latest cable provider to deliver that content in a way that might skirt around net neutrality rules: according to GigaOM, not a single bit of that data will count against TWC customers' data caps. TWC explained the decision to GigaOM, noting that the app "isn't an internet offering."...

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Jun 13 1:03a

DOJ probe investigates whether cable companies are unfairly capping online video

When Comcast announced that its Xfinity app for Xbox 360 wouldn't count against its internet subscriber's data caps, it got an earful from net neutrality advocates, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, and Senator Al Franken. Now, The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Department of Justice has stepped in, investigating cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable, among others, to see if they're acting unfairly towards the online video services they host on their network. More specifically,...

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May 15 5:59p

Comcast rejects claims of Xfinity app favoritism, says it complies with net neutrality

Comcast has responded to allegations that it privileges content for its Xfinity app for the Xbox 360 over competitors like Netflix, claiming that it does not prioritize its own content and that it is in compliance with the FCC's open internet principles. Comcast says that the Xbox 360 "essentially acts as an additional cable box for your existing cable service," and that it sends the content on a managed network that's separate from its traditional cable delivery service. The ISP says that it...

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Is Comcast prioritizing its Xfinity app over competitors like Netflix?

A detailed study from technical infrastructure expert Bryan Berg reveals that Comcast may be prioritizing traffic for its own Xfinity app for Xbox 360 over other services, like Netflix — which, if accurate, would be a bold deviation from the spirit of the FCC's net neutrality principles. This isn't the first time an issue has arisen with Comcast's Xfinity app, as the company's decision to exempt its app from bandwidth caps raised the eyebrows of net neutrality advocates, including Senator Al...

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May 07 3:53p

Senator Al Franken: Comcast Xfinity On Demand may violate net neutrality agreement

Senator Al Franken has long been an outspoken supporter of network neutrality and an opponent of a 2010 joint venture between NBC Universal and Comcast, so it's not surprising that he's deeply concerned about Comcast's plan for Xfinity On Demand. In a letter sent to the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice today, Franken urged both agencies to reexamine Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal, citing a number of recent problems and complaints. Among them was the...

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Apr 16 12:18a

Netflix CEO complains about Comcast's data caps again: 'In what way is this neutral?'

It's no secret Netflix's CEO Reed Hastings thinks Comcast's data caps are unfair. Last month he posted a message on Facebook complaining about how data used by Comcast's Xfinity app for the Xbox 360 doesn't count toward his monthly Comcast data cap, unlike competing service HBO Go. Now Hastings is back on Facebook (post below), saying essentially the same thing, only this time he's cutting straight to the net neutrality point.

It's unlikely that Comcast is going to stop being selective about...

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Mar 26 5:09p

Comcast's Xbox 360 video service flies in the face of the FCC's net neutrality efforts

"[Broadband internet providers] shall not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic over a consumer's broadband Internet access service." FCC 10-201, paragraph 68

The FCC says that the "Open Internet" is open because "it treats all traffic that flows across the network in roughly the same way" — so Comcast's decision to privilege its Xfinity On Demand service for Xbox 360 with free data, while requiring other apps like Netflix and Hulu to count against customer data...

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Comcast's Xfinity On Demand for Xbox 360 won't count against subscribers' bandwidth caps

A big part of Microsoft's major revamp of the Xbox 360 Dashboard late last year was lots of new video content, such as Verizon's FiOS TV, Vevo, and ESPN, but a few selections were going to be absent until early 2012. One of those was Comcast's Xfinity On Demand service, but an FAQ on the Xfinity site seems to indicate that it'll be launching sooner than later. The biggest item of note here for potential users of this service is the news that Comcast will not count streaming of Xfinity On...

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