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Comcast Not Counting Their Video Service Against Bandwidth Cap

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the net-neutrality-really-works-after-all dept.

Television 284

tekgoblin writes something not quite worth rejoicing over. From the article: "Comcast Internet subscribers can rejoice. Comcast has recently announced that they will not be counting content streamed via their Comcast Xfinity App on the Xbox 360 against their bandwidth caps. Comcast claims that since the data is only traversing their internal Comcast network that it will not count towards your 250 GB limit a month." Comcast is claiming this does not violate net neutrality laws (and it very well may not); a number of folks are not very happy about it. I've always been perplexed by the large media interests of most U.S. last-mile providers.

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Hosting providers to move on-net (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39495251)

Netflix could simply run their service over Comcast's local network. Put a cache in every node.

Re:Hosting providers to move on-net (3, Funny)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495827)

Netflix is really pissing me off, I'm switching to Qwikster.

Re:Hosting providers to move on-net (2, Insightful)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495947)

I think you misunderstood the concept here.

Comcast is saying they wont bill you for the data use for staying within their intranet basically.
Since you're going to one of THEIR servers, vs. someone else's.

Netflix cannot simply park a node on some Comcast fiber and get the same benefit, since it would not be going to a Comcast owned/operated server.
If I hosted a server from my own home (on Comcast) then if other Comcast subscribers connected to it, the BW usage would still count.

Re:Hosting providers to move on-net (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39496423)

No, they said it's OK because it doesn't leave their network. That is true for any server attached directly to their network, whether it is operated by Comcast or not.

UVerse? (4, Insightful)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495253)

I'm pretty sure that's what the competition is called in the US... they don't count their video/vod streams against your monthly data cap either, do they?

I know that their competing services offered north of the border don't count... you'd blow through the monthly cap in less than a day if it did. So how is this any different? They're offering a VOD service and saying it doesn't count against your monthly cap.

Re:UVerse? (-1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495261)

oh yes, and because it's the meme of the day, "frist psot", even though this was actually the second post. must conform, you know.

Re:UVerse? (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495303)

Long before they had VOD services here up north your plan always stipulated that traffic on rogers or bell networks didn't count against your bandwidth. That even applies to mobiles on rogers for sure (not sure about any of the others).

It was a hold over from the days of very expensive internet with modems etc and people didn't like the idea of having to pay more money to look at their bill or the like online. Now it has some other implications.

Oh and Rogers does have a 250 GB/month plan ($100/month) and 120 and 150 GB plans. Which are overall reasonable plans on capacity and speed, terrible on price, but well, that's the price we pay for living in a large country slightly larger than the US but with the population of california.

Re:UVerse? (4, Informative)

dkf (304284) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495425)

Which are overall reasonable plans on capacity and speed, terrible on price, but well, that's the price we pay for living in a large country slightly larger than the US but with the population of california.

California has about 5 million more people than Canada; it's so large that it would count as a medium-sized European country (with a very strong economy too).

Re:UVerse? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495667)

I think that was his point - Canada has approximately the same population as California (less, actually), but spread over a much larger area... thus telecommunications become more expensive.

In reality, though, the inhabited portion of Canada isn't all that big, and it is fairly densely populated. Something like 75% of Canadians live in a strip 100-miles wide on the US-Canadian border. That's about 1500 miles, so 150,000 square miles. Which happens to be almost exactly California's land area :)

Re:UVerse? (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495759)

Which are overall reasonable plans on capacity and speed, terrible on price, but well, that's the price we pay for living in a large country slightly larger than the US but with the population of california.

California has about 5 million more people than Canada; it's so large that it would count as a medium-sized European country (with a very strong economy too).

And it's government is just as broke as a lot of medium sized European countries too.

Re:UVerse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39496237)

And it's government is just as broke as a lot of medium sized European countries too.

At least Canada still has its AAA credit rating--unlike some very large North America countries. :)

Re:UVerse? (1)

rtaylor (70602) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495451)

Call to cancel your Rogers service (mean it, be familiar with Teksavvy or other alternatives) and you may find you get offered a 30% discount and elimination of the modem rental fee.

Re:UVerse? (1)

rogueippacket (1977626) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495793)

Don't forget, the Loyalty and Retention teams actually get paid more if they "save" your account, even if it means giving you a deep discount. So don't be afraid to push them, either!

Re:UVerse? (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495521)

Oh and Rogers does have a 250 GB/month plan ($100/month) and 120 and 150 GB plans. Which are overall reasonable plans on capacity and speed, terrible on price, but well, that's the price we pay for living in a large country slightly larger than the US but with the population of california.

*shrugs* I pay $42/mo for 12meg service with a 300GB cap from TekSavvy... Rogers doesn't win the game there.

Also, the "population density" argument is a false argument... yes, the total population is only about 35 million in the 2nd largest country in the world, giving one of the lowest aggregate population densities in the world, but the bulk of the population in this country is within 100km of the US border. When you discount the huge tracts of largely unpopulated arctic and tundra, Canada's population density is actually about equal to the US.

Re:UVerse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39495627)

>I pay $42/mo for 12meg service with a 300GB cap from TekSavvy...

That service is now 18/0.5 thanks to Rogers also upgrading wholesaler at least a month ago.

get a non-profit ISP! (1)

Herve5 (879674) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495925)

Here in France we have FDN, the ten-years-old "French Data Network" association, which among others proposes ADSL links with just the maximum available throughput they get to your home (typ. 18Mb/s) for €29/month (roughly $39).
Of course they don't add fancy services around this -it's a pure internet line, with one fixed IP, full stop...
But they are also intensely engaged into net neutrality, etc.
These recent years they have started "swarming" into more regional ISPs while none exists yet in my region (so I'm attached to the national level)
You don't really need a lot to start this -only motivated people, some of them with plenty of time...
site in french: http://www.fdn.fr/ [www.fdn.fr]

Re:UVerse? (1)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39496357)

And how does it compare to the US when you discount the huge tracts of largely unpopulated deserts and sparsely populated farming land in the US?

Re:UVerse? (5, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495569)

...they don't count their video/vod streams against your monthly data cap either, do they?

Correct. Step by step, major ISPs are transforming your internet connection into just another cable TV connection. Expect fees and restrictions to "outside" content to increase in an escalating war of combined telecom/content providers.

Re:UVerse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39495687)

Yeah it's definitely a common practice. Personally I know that Telstra (one of the major carriers in Australia) used to give 'unmetered' access to their GameArena network (premium game/voice services) - so if you were playing games hosted there or using Ventrilo it wouldn't count towards your monthly cap.

They may still do it but I switched to Internode a while back.

Re:UVerse? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495907)

The trick is that Comcast is, that their service uses their "Internal Network" to give a "Value Add" service to "Their Customers", So in theory you are not Using your Internet Access to access the content thus doesn't affect your bandwidth cap. Because you bandwidth cap is for data that leaves Comcast's "Internal Network".

The rules would change, if you could access the data outside the Comcast network.

Re:UVerse? (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 2 years ago | (#39496145)

I'm pretty sure that's what the competition is called in the US... they don't count their video/vod streams against your monthly data cap either, do they?

I know that their competing services offered north of the border don't count... you'd blow through the monthly cap in less than a day if it did. So how is this any different? They're offering a VOD service and saying it doesn't count against your monthly cap.

What we're seeing is the second shot in the war to monetize bandwidth. the bandwidth owners don't care so much about how much is used, IMHO, as to who makes the money of the bandwidth. Being dumb pipe is a low margin game relative to that content providers can make; so they want to ensure they get a cut of that revenue as well. Caps were first put in place to get people to used to the idea that content costs money - no they can move them to their "no cap" services and get them to subscribe to the appropriate Xfinity services. That's why they own content as well as pipes and fight attempts to provide low cost alternatives - they're not worried about losing internet access subscribers as much as losing subscribers to higher value services such as HBO if they can purchase that, without worrying about caps, directly from HBO.

WAN (5, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495257)

Cuts both ways? Does that mean I can FTP an unlimited amount of data to my neighbor that also has Comcast too? Where all part of one giant happy WAN, right?

Re:WAN (5, Informative)

nolife (233813) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495487)

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 http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/internet/common-questions-excessive-use/#excessive22 [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 Updated 3/9/2012.

Does the Comcast Usage Meter measure data that I consume from XfinityTV.com?

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.

Re:WAN (1)

Z_A_Commando (991404) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495717)

Since we don't know where XFinityTV.com is located, it's possible that the traffic is leaving the Comcast network at some point. As far as I am aware, you can't access the XFinity XBox app if you're not on the Comcast network. This is similar to ESPN3.com where the app is useless if your ISP doesn't pony up for access.

Re:WAN (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495677)

You mean your Comcast ToS don't already preclude doing that on residential accounts? A friend of mine on Charter got hammered by them for running a media server off of his residential line (and allowing too many people access), they cut him off and told him to either lose the server or upgrade to a commercial account at twice the monthly cost. Didn't take long, either...

Either way, given that these corporations can force us to give up our right to sue, let alone anything else, I'm sure there are plenty of provisions within the Comcast ToS that specifically state you can't do anything they don't like, no matter what that is, from now until the end of time.

Internal Network, eh? (3, Interesting)

jijacob (943393) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495263)

So if I set up a couple friends with ftp servers within comcast's network, and use over 250GB between them, I won't get charged?

Re:Internal Network, eh? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495411)

This is what I was thinking too. And not just a couple of friends, but anybody else in the city. You could get quite a network set up.

Re:Internal Network, eh? (3, Informative)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495595)

only problem is, you'd be in violation of the TOS against servers with FTP, Telnet, Rsync or any other file transfer protocol because one system must act as a server

Doesn't violate network neutrality? (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495291)

This is the core issue of network neutrality! A network provider should be a neutral network provider, it should not prioritise one vendor's service over another vendor's equivalent service. Network operators being content providers at all is a violation of network neutrality in its purest form. Imposing limits on other services' traffic but not on their own is a blatant violation by even the loosest definition.

What's this? TheRaven64 RUNNING?? lol... apk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39495327)

Anytime you *think* you have the intellect to 'get the better of me'? Come on over here -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2734503&cid=39493361 [slashdot.org] & disprove any points I have made on hosts files there!

(Along with the thoughts & opinions of your /. peers that outnumber your craven tactics 40++:1 and actually agree that hosts files are useful for speed, security, and more of beneficial value to they and others)

You're 'so brave' doing cowardly little trollish ad hominem attack attempts, in your snide little comment there -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2734503&cid=39406223 [slashdot.org] !

Let's see how well you bear up under fire when you're challenged to disprove not only the thoughts of others on hosts files benefits they have gotten using custom hosts files, but also points I have made in favor of hosts files that have gotten myself modded up MANY TIMES here by others also (which is tough to get as an AC since /. buries our posts by default).

* It is going to be a PLEASURE annihilating you...

APK

P.S.=> So yes - that's right: I am going to make it a point to humiliate you now, worm.

Especially since you saw fit to attempt to try to 'start up' with me there with an off-topic illogical failing attempt @ ad hominem attacks directed my way there!

So - now the shoe's on the other foot, except that it will illustrate your inadequacy in things technical in computing hugely, proving this is no mere ad hominem attack on my part (only payback you merited, and best part is? YOU only did this, to yourself, worm)... apk http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2734503 [slashdot.org]

Re:What's this? TheRaven64 RUNNING?? lol... apk (1)

Chase Husky (1131573) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495477)

Hosts files are terrible.

Others here disagree w/ U (40++:1 ratio)... apk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39495629)

"Hosts files are terrible." - by Chase Husky (1131573) on Wednesday March 28, @09:14AM (#39495477) Homepage

Many others disagree with you here: 20++ SLASHDOT USERS EXPERIENCING SUCCESS USING HOSTS FILES QUOTED VERBATIM:

---

"Ever since I've installed a host file (http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm) to redirect advertisers to my loopback, I haven't had any malware, spyware, or adware issues. I first started using the host file 5 years ago." - by TestedDoughnut (1324447) on Monday December 13, @12:18AM (#34532122)

"I use a custom /etc/hosts to block ads... my file gets parsed basically instantly ... So basically, for any modern computer, it has zero visible impact. And even if it took, say, a second to parse, that would be more than offset by the MANY seconds saved by not downloading and rendering ads. I have noticed NO ill effects from running a custom /etc/hosts file for the last several years. And as a matter of fact I DO run http servers on my computers and I've never had an /etc/hosts-related problem... it FUCKING WORKS and makes my life better overall." - by sootman (158191) on Monday July 13 2009, @11:47AM (#28677363) Homepage Journal

"I actually went and downloaded a 16k line hosts file and started using that after seeing that post, you know just for trying it out. some sites load up faster." - by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday November 17, @11:20AM (#38086752) Homepage Journal

"Better than an ad blocker, imo. Hosts file entries: http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm [mvps.org] " - by TempestRose (1187397) on Tuesday March 15, @12:53PM (#35493274)

"^^ One of the many reasons why I like the user-friendliness of the /etc/hosts file." - by lennier1 (264730) on Saturday March 05, @09:26PM (#35393448)

"They've been on my HOSTS block for years" - by ScottCooperDotNet (929575) on Thursday August 05 2010, @01:52AM (#33147212)

"I'm currently only using my hosts file to block pheedo ads from showing up in my RSS feeds and causing them to take forever to load. Regardless of its original intent, it's still a valid tool, when used judiciously." - by Bill Dog (726542) on Monday April 25, @02:16AM (#35927050) Homepage Journal

"you're right about hosts files" - by drinkypoo (153816) on Thursday May 26, @01:21PM (#36252958) Homepage

"APK's monolithic hosts file is looking pretty good at the moment." - by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday November 17, @10:08AM (#38085666)

"I also use the MVPS ad blocking hosts file." - by Rick17JJ (744063) on Wednesday January 19, @03:04PM (#34931482)

"I use ad-Block and a hostfile" - by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Tuesday March 01, @10:11AM (#35346902)

"I do use Hosts, for a couple fake domains I use." - by icebraining (1313345) on Saturday December 11, @09:34AM (#34523012) Homepage

"It's a good write up on something everybody should use, why you were modded down is beyond me. Using a HOSTS file, ADblock is of no concern and they can do what they want." - by Trax3001BBS (2368736) on Monday December 12, @10:07PM (#38351398) Homepage Journal

"I want my surfing speed back so I block EVERY fucking ad. i.e. http://someonewhocares.org/hosts/ [someonewhocares.org] and http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm [mvps.org] FTW" - by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Tuesday December 13, @12:04PM (#38356782)

"Let me introduce you to the file: /etc/hosts" - by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Monday December 19, @05:03PM (#38427432)

"I use a hosts file" - by EdIII (1114411) on Tuesday December 13, @01:17PM (#38357816)

"I'm tempted to go for a hacked hosts file that simply resolves most advert sites to 127.0.0.1" - by bLanark (123342) on Tuesday December 13, @01:13PM (#38357760)

"put in your /etc/hosts:" - by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03, @09:17AM (#34429688)

"this is not a troll, which hosts file source you recommend nowadays? it's a really handy method for speeding up web and it works." - by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday March 22, @08:07PM (#39446525) Homepage Journal

---

* Still, assuming you're not a troll (or some alternate registered luser account TheRaven64 has here, because everyone KNOWS that goes on here & elsewhere online)? What do you find "terrible" about them, and perhaps I can enlighten you to how you may be 'off' on technical grounds!

APK

P.S.=> Not enough? Ok - here's more on posts of mine about HOSTS files that have been upmodded (feel free to disprove points on hosts I made in them too, anytime you like, & we can discuss it):

* THE HOSTS FILE GROUP 30++ THUSFAR (from +5 -> +1 RATINGS, usually "informative" or "interesting" etc./et al):

BANNER ADS & BANDWIDTH:2011 -> http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2139088&cid=36077722 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1907266&cid=34529608 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1490078&cid=30555632 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1869638&cid=34237268 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1461288&threshold=-1&commentsort=0&mode=thread&cid=30272074 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1255487&cid=28197285 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1206409&cid=27661983 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1725068&cid=32960808 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1743902&cid=33147274 [slashdot.org]
APK 20++ POINTS ON HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1913212&cid=34576182 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1862260&cid=34186256 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 (w/ facebook known bad sites blocked) -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1924892&cid=34670128 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS FILE MOD UP FOR ANDROID MALWARE:2010 -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1930156&cid=34713952 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP ZEUSTRACKER:2011 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2059420&cid=35654066 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP vs AT&T BANDWIDTH CAP:2011 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2116504&cid=35985584 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP CAN DO SAME AS THE "CloudFlare" Server-Side service:2011 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2220314&cid=36372850 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS and BGP +5 RATED (BEING HONEST):2010 http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1901826&cid=34490450 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS & PROTECT IP ACT:2011 http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2368832&cid=37021700 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2011 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2457766&cid=37592458 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP & OPERA HAUTE SECURE:2011 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2457274&cid=37589596 [slashdot.org]
0.0.0.0 in HOSTS:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1197039&cid=27556999 [slashdot.org]
0.0.0.0 IN HOSTS:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1143349&cid=27012231 [slashdot.org]
0.0.0.0 in HOSTS:2009 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1198841&cid=27580299 [slashdot.org]
0.0.0.0 in HOSTS:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1139705&cid=26977225 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1319261&cid=28872833 [slashdot.org] (still says INSIGHTFUL)
HOSTS MOD UP vs. botnet: 2012 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2603836&cid=38586216 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP vs. SOPA act: 2012 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2611414&cid=38639460 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP vs. FaceBook b.s.: 2012 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2614186&cid=38658078 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP "how to secure smartphones": 2012 -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2644205&cid=38860239 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP "Free Apps Eat your Battery via ad displays": 2012 -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2734503&cid=39408607 [slashdot.org]

... apk"

Re:Others here disagree w/ U (40++:1 ratio)... apk (2)

Chase Husky (1131573) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495769)

The fact that you can't spot thinly veiled raillery is adorable. Have a great day!

Re:Others here disagree w/ U (40++:1 ratio)... apk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39496223)

He ran u off like the troll u are. Is ur fav. color 'transparent'? U're easily seen through n' run off by facts which always happens with trolls like urself (TheRaven64 too).

Re:What's this? TheRaven64 RUNNING?? lol... apk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39495721)

Seems TheRaven64 is trying to hide this by down mods http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2751915&cid=39495327 [slashdot.org] with no technical justification behind the down moderation and with him running from a challenge put to he when he trolled others completely off topic too? How pitiful of TheRaven64.

Re:What's this? TheRaven64 RUNNING?? lol... apk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39495811)

How much of a dick with absolutely no life does one have to be to stalk another /. user and harass them about comments made in another completely unrelated article (regarding something as lame as hosts files even!)? I think you need to go and get out of your little world every now and then, it might do you some good. See a shrink. Buy a dog. Get a girl. Well...buy one for a night anyway; as sensitive as you are you probably won't need her for very long.

TheRaven64 pot calling a kettle black by ac now? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39496339)

So TheRaven64 can do it first n it's ok? See here http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2734503&cid=39406223 [slashdot.org]

* Go away trying to defend yourself by ac replies and effete mod downs, The Raven64. You're only showing us your true colors some more, the favorite color of off topic ad hominem attack utilizing trolls (transparent).

APK

P.S.=> After all, anyone can see the link above as well as you running away from disproving my points on hosts files in the link I just posted where you started this with me. I am only finishing it, and you, with it... apk

Re:Doesn't violate network neutrality? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39495331)

This is actually the first I've heard people complaining about this from a network neutrality perspective. In Australia, where bandwidth caps are the norm and exceptions are extremely rare, a lot of the nicer ISPs (e.g. Internode) offer unmetered content on their own network to add value to their service- Internode's big thing was offering a huge mirror of open source and other popular software, gaming servers etc.

I'm not sure how much that applies now since to my knowledge the content isn't unmetered on the ADSL2+ plans and regular ADSL is becoming rapidly outdated, but still, for a while this was quite cool.

Re:Doesn't violate network neutrality? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495435)

In Australia, where bandwidth caps are the norm and exceptions are extremely rare, a lot of the nicer ISPs (e.g. Internode) offer unmetered content on their own network to add value to their service

I'm guessing the problem is that only major incumbent media companies (e.g. Disney, Fox, Paramount, Sony, and Warner), not aggregators of independent video productions (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo, and Dailymotion), can get works onto the unmetered Xfinity On Demand application.

Re:Doesn't violate network neutrality? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495607)

That, and it gives them another incentive to provide poor service. So long as they keep their caps low enough, it'll be impossible for customers to effectively use any media service other than their own.

Re:Doesn't violate network neutrality? (4, Interesting)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495439)

Things are different in Aus. You don't have very good connectivity off the island so it's a big advantage for the ISP to encourage you to get files domestically.

In the US the weakest link is the last mile; transit between ISPs is dirt cheap. I think it's pretty clear that they're doing it as an abuse of their near-monopoly, and not as a result of their costs.

Re:Doesn't violate network neutrality? (2)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495661)

There is another example of this problem in Australia:
Australian ISPs also offer a local cache for iTunes downloads. The idea was established by the Australian government because iTunes downloads were eating into their undersea cables. (There was a Slashdot article on this a year or two ago, but I can't find it now.) The problem with this is that the Australian government just skewed the market by aiding one individual corporation over its competitors. So iTunes downloads are now faster than Amazon downloads or others. If the government wanted to do this to conserve bandwidth, they needed to offer a cache that was available for any company.
This Comcast issue is similar. I thought that when Comcast bought NBC there was a promise that they would not do anything to inhibit access to NBC material elsewhere. I guess they figure this doesn't count.

Re:Doesn't violate network neutrality? (2)

laptop006 (37721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39496381)

That's almost entirely false. (ISP network engineer in Australia here)

The major cable leaving Australia for the last decade has been Southern Cross (there's more now) and the Australian government have no significant interest in it (the NZ government on the other hand does by way of cable system part owner Telecom NZ).

iTunes downloads (at least some of them) are cached by Akamai, and traditionally most medium to large ISPs hosted Akamai caches inside their network (at $JOB[-1] Akamai was ~30% and Google was ~15% of all bandwidth used for a regional education network).

It truly isn't any different for any other CDN, some host inside Australia and peer with local networks (IIRC Limelite do this), some only host in Asia (eg Amazon), and some (eg Steam) install machines inside ISPs for their customers.

Re:Doesn't violate network neutrality? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39495335)

I believe the point is that they are not violating the administration's definition of net neutrality. Their definition is so twisted by lobbyists that it doesn't adequately describe the concept of net neutrality proper.

Re:Doesn't violate network neutrality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39495461)

Flicking through the articles quickly...

So the've released an app for xbox that lets you watch movies on demand. Like, watch a stored file. I don't know what systems you have in the usa, but in australia there has been a sales point (or service, whichever way you want to view it) for ISPs to have mirror repositories, game servers and files for their customers to download. Not only is it much faster, many providers started to provide this information outside your normal limits, citing the same reason - it's free because it's on their own network. It's like connecting your neighbor to your wirless for a fee, and then giving him credentials to a server on the same network, logging & charging him for the traffic going out of that network. The only cost is your power for your servers that run anyway. However;

Imposing limits on other services' traffic but not on their own is a blatant violation by even the loosest definition.

I saw nothing saying they were shapeing other vendors/services (recently).

Re:Doesn't violate network neutrality? (1)

surgen (1145449) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495509)

This is the core issue of network neutrality! A network provider should be a neutral network provider, it should not prioritise one vendor's service over another vendor's equivalent service

Yup, this really is the core of the issue. Now, its easy to understand why this exception they've given themselves seems to make sense, the problem is what it implies. A popular 'worst case' is that service providers can't just buy bandwidth and sling to all consumers limited only by the bandwidth they buy and the network path to the consumer. Now, with comcast pulling this, it will eventually be rightly called out as anti-compeptive, they will go to whatever authority calls them out hat-in-hand and say they just can't afford to pull all that data from an outside network, but offer to allow content providers unlimited access to their customers if the other provider does the legwork to get the traffic on comcast's "internal" network, now to "remain competitive" the Netflixs of the world have to start eating more and more costs as they rework their locations and their choice of upstream provider to conform with every consumer ISP whos customers they want to serve to get around artificial roadblocks erected by the ISP.

Re:Doesn't violate network neutrality? (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495559)

Well, the way I see it is this.

If they treated all content equally, then if you were watching streamed video on the Comcast system it would consume your 250gig cap. By making this content 'free' it allows you to consume more content from other networks. So, it can be argued that making a bandwidth expensive service not count towards your cap you are actually helping the other networks.

Of course, if you had no cap whatsoever, then there would be perfect neutrality all around.

I suppose your argument can be differently phrased: By making their own content not count towards a cap, then consumers will be more likely to use the Comcast service than another, and that is clearly not neutral. But how is this different to my mobile phone provider giving me free calls to people who are subscribers to the same mobile company? Is there no obligation for them to be neutral also?

Personally I haven't thought too much on this as for me net neutrality was always about speed and not allowances, since both my mobile and landline connections are unlimited (fair use applies) and I've never given consideration to download caps.

Would you complain about unfairness of net neutrality if, by the very nature of hosting the video within their network, the streaming speed (buffering not withstanding) was faster? Would you expect they deliberately slow down the delivery of the content to be fairer to that hosted by a competitor?

Like you say, perhaps ISPs shouldn't be allowed to host their own content at all in the first place. But at what point does providing customers with superior service become an abuse of net neutrality?

Re:Doesn't violate network neutrality? (1, Insightful)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495615)

A Bandwidth cap is not a network neutrality issue. It's just a cap on how much bandwidth you can use. In this case, they've properly stated that internal bandwidth usage does not count against your cap, which is for external bandwidth

Re:Doesn't violate network neutrality? (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495715)

It wouldn't be a network neutrality issue if they offered connection to their network to other content providers with the same terms that they offer to their in-house content provider. The problem comes when they are the only ones able to get this special privilege.

Re:Doesn't violate network neutrality? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39495773)

Did u know hosts files can save users bandwidth + help vs. caps by blocking out ad banners? I see u trolled others here on hosts files the past few days now n' yet when u were challenged on that very note here http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2751915&cid=39495327 [slashdot.org] , u ran as well.

See TheRaven64 RUN... apk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39495803)

Anytime you *think* you have the intellect to 'get the better of me'? Come on over here -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2734503&cid=39493361 [slashdot.org] & disprove any points I have made on hosts files there!

(Along with the thoughts & opinions of your /. peers that outnumber your craven tactics 40++:1 and actually agree that hosts files are useful for speed, security, and more of beneficial value to they and others)

You're 'so brave' doing cowardly little trollish ad hominem attack attempts, in your snide little comment there -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2734503&cid=39406223 [slashdot.org] !

Let's see how well you bear up under fire when you're challenged to disprove not only the thoughts of others on hosts files benefits they have gotten using custom hosts files, but also points I have made in favor of hosts files that have gotten myself modded up MANY TIMES here by others also (which is tough to get as an AC since /. buries our posts by default).

* It is going to be a PLEASURE annihilating you...

APK

P.S.=> So yes - that's right: I am going to make it a point to humiliate you now, worm.

Especially since you saw fit to attempt to try to 'start up' with me there with an off-topic illogical failing attempt @ ad hominem attacks directed my way there!

So - now the shoe's on the other foot, except that it will illustrate your inadequacy in things technical in computing hugely, proving this is no mere ad hominem attack on my part (only payback you merited, and best part is? YOU only did this, to yourself, worm)... apk

Re:Doesn't violate network neutrality? (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 2 years ago | (#39496235)

I don't get comcast here but isn't their VOD service just a DVRless solution to see things that are already included in your cable package? Couldn't you argue that giving free bandwidth to access it is just a way to not penalize people for the way they chose to access the content they already paid for? Saying watching a video through the cable on your TV is okay but watch a video that goes through the cable and into the router is not.

The cable company where I live counts bandwidth for their streaming site against your quota. Which I think is silly since I can watch the same thing on my TV for free. (and going over quota even with the top end package is $0.50/GB), it would suck for most people even worse because a mid tier package gets about 70GB a month quota and it is $1/GB over. Streaming content that would be nothing since parents and the kids could be watching two different things at the same time gobbling up ~2GB in a couple hours easy.

Re:Doesn't violate network neutrality? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39495841)

A Bandwidth cap is not a network neutrality issue. It's just a cap on how much bandwidth you can use.

Right ... just like a poll tax was not a racial discrimination issue. It was just an additional fee you pay to vote in electrions.

The intent and the effect are what has to determine these questions. When the network owner imposing less stringent conditions on the use of selectly-blessed IP traffic and more limiting conditions on the use of competitor's IP traffic the effect is an unbalanced playing field (aka non-neutral network) and because the network owner directly profits from this result it is reasonable to infer that this was their intent.

In the U.S., these questions are relevant to Cable co. network providers and not relevant to mobile network providers simply because the mobile network providers do not have a monopoly whereas there are many places across the U.S. where the Cable co. network providers still have Government-granted monopolies.

You demonstrate why NN should not be supported (1, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39496193)

A network provider should be a neutral network provider

Agree 100%.

However there is nothing about this that breaks neutrality, which is all about them not LIMITING other services. You seem to think it is but all it's doing is allowing access to some content they offer at reduced cost - where is the "limit" on other people?

It's simply the case that content they can store on the same network costs them nothing to transmit, and so you get it for free. It's simply passing along a cost reduction.

It boggles my mind how network neutrality supporters cannot understand this, from so many angles. You cannot understand how this does not violate network neutrality. Nor can you understand you any NN regulations even being considered would in no way address this "problem" which is not even a problem!!! Instead you support a stupid regulation which doesn't actually solve any of the problems you are imagining. It's inherently a stupid argument I think to claim that you should force a company to charge equally for something right next to you vs three networks away. It makes no sense in the real world and could not be sustained.

Re:Doesn't violate network neutrality? (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 2 years ago | (#39496407)

Ah, but Comcast was careful here. They said "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."

In short, they said they are "committed to an open Internet" and complying with the FCC's (weak) rules, neither of which (if they are even doing either) would imply actual net neutrality.

IP Insanity (4, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495313)

Why do we get so crazy when data is sent over IP rather than another way? If they had done this with their cable lines and not used TCP/IP, nobody would bat an eye. In fact, that's how content was always served in the past. When they decide to cut costs and use the newer, better infrastructure for the old stuff, people freak out.

A company serving their own service over their own lines is nothing to freak out about.

I will agree that if they were doing this with other companies' data, it would be worrisome. But not their own.

Disney, Fox, Paramount, Sony, and Warner (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495339)

They are doing it with other companies' data: the other five incumbent movie studios'. Or will only NBCUniversal-owned works be available over this service?

Re:IP Insanity (5, Insightful)

SilentChasm (998689) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495381)

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.

Saturation to Tata (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495463)

Either congestion on the last mile is a problem requiring caps or it isn't.

The congestion isn't on the last mile to nearly the extent that it used to be. As of about fifteen months ago at least, Comcast was regularly saturating its upstream link to Tata [slashdot.org] .

Re:IP Insanity (2)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495695)

This has been a good example of slippery slope.. they used that excuse at first and now that people have gotten used to the caps (or at minimal are not fighting them as hard) they change the reason in order to start using them the way they were intended.. cutting out competition.

Re:IP Insanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39495967)

That's not the only way it happens. I have a business package and get priority over all my neighbors. In addition to that, I'm also the first connection from the main run. I can make my whole subdivision crawl. It's great for me but not for my neighbors. I just don't want them to find out it's me :)

Did I mention I run an FTP for an open source project on it.

Re:IP Insanity (1)

rogueippacket (1977626) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495921)

Technically, Ethernet/IP is not a broadcast technology. So historically, all your service provider had to do was provision a chunk of cable bandwidth to broadcast several hundred channels to several thousand users, and then carve out a little bit extra for IP data. Now that they are all moving to IP and HDTV, there is no way to provision enough bandwidth to broadcast (or multicast) everything, even on a 10GigE transport.
In short, there is a technological limitation at play - but it is not an excuse for service providers to throw around puny data caps. They should continue to invest in their infrastructure instead of trying to inflate the actual cost of a Gigabyte by 10 000% to make a quick buck.

Re:IP Insanity (1)

laptop006 (37721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39496431)

Ethernet most certainly is a broadcast technology, and it and IP have supported multicast for many years (IP multicast across several networks is very common on research networks).

As for bandwidth, assuming 20Mbit streams (fairly standard BluRay, broadcast in some parts of the world approaches it as well) you can fit 500 channels on 10G. In practice as you only have to send out what at least one client has requested you can have more channels then can be streamed, cable companies do this already with Switched Digital Video.

Re:IP Insanity (4, Insightful)

javakah (932230) | more than 2 years ago | (#39496265)

There are a couple of problems.

Cable companies used to simply be mechanisms to get content created by other companies to users, and they did so through the TV.

As time progressed, the cable companies also began providing Internet access over the cable lines.

The cable companies also changed from simply being mechanisms for transferring the content that others have created, to owning some of those content creating companies as well.

New companies sprung up (such as Netflix) which realized that they could serve content through the internet, and serve it to more devices than just TVs.

This tends to drag on the profitability of Cable TV if people start feeling they have a better costing, reasonable alternative, so customers started dropping cable. Meanwhile, content creating companies not owned by the Cable companies were given a new outlet for distribution, not having to rely essentially on their competitors (the Cable companies) for distribution, possibly at unfair terms.

So around the time that the Netflix user base was really exploding, the Cable companies started putting caps on their Internet service, along with creating their own clones of the services provided by other websites that were now serving up content.

The problem now is that the cable companies seem to be unfairly using the arm of their company that provides internet access in order to artificially help it's Cable TV and content creation arms. By keeping the caps artificially low, they keep people from being able to use the Internet to get their content, pushing people towards their Cable TV. Now, by allowing their own sites to not count towards the cap, they are telling people that they can go back to getting content from the Internet again, but only if it's provided by them.

This is compounded by cable companies being granted local monopolies, so many people don't have a choice than to use these Companies that are trying to limit what content they can receive.

Imagine Walmart buying out USPS/UPS/FedEx. People have to go through Walmart to get anything sent to them. Now imagine Walmart saying that you are now limited to receiving 3 packages per month. This would be terrible for Amazon, a competitor in getting a good number of things to customers. This is now the equivalent of Walmart saying, "You are limited to 3 packages per month, but any packages you receive from us won't count, so order from us!". This has a chilling effect then beyond simply winding up costing customers more. A student is studying WWII. They want to read Mein Kampf. Walmart doesn't like it, so doesn't sell it. They've killed Amazon. You can't get it.

TL;DR- So the issue is that because the Cable companies are controlling several parts of the entertainment business, this is monopolistic behavior that will cost customers more and limit customer options.

So a company ... (2)

nhat11 (1608159) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495337)

Is biased towards themselves? That's news!

Large media interests. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39495345)

I've always been perplexed by the large media interests of most U.S. last-mile providers.

It's simple: last-mile is a high-cost, low-profit industry. The only firms willing to go to the trouble are the content providers, and only so they can push their crap.

Bullshit (0)

MCSEBear (907831) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495351)

Is the data for this video delivered over TCP/IP? Then you can't claim it should be immune to the data cap any other data delivered to the customer over TCP/IP would be subject to.

Do they really think people are stupid enough to think that just because their servers for this data are on their own network, that this shouldn't be subject to the same rules as any other IP traffic? Either make everyone's video services immune to your data cap or none at all.

Data is only traversing their network... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39495359)

Probably true, but services like Akamai also exist to ensure that the "data" only traverses their network as well, but it has the ability to serve a larger number of providers. The Content Delivery networks were designed to explicitly prevent their needing to be a bunch of hops required on the network. As it stands Content Network Delivery providers work because it is in the ISPs best interest to work with them as they want to minimize the traffic leaving their network. If this is allowed to continue then it will be in Comcast's best interest NOT to work with these Content Network Delivery partners so that their content is faster. This is terrible.

Don't Cap, Peer or Colocate (3)

MarcQuadra (129430) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495363)

I've been saying this all along. The answer for these companies is not to cap or throttle, it's to behave like a good citizen on the internet and either peer with or colocate the data customers want.

Now imagine if Google, Apple, Amazon, and Netflix could host a few boxes inside the Comcast network. Everyone wins. Unfortunately, that's just not how higher-ups in most organizations think.

Re:Don't Cap, Peer or Colocate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39495631)

Bandwidth caps help keep the series of tubes that make up the internet clear so when someone sends a email it doesn't get stuck behind someone's pirated movie or files.
Without the caps the internet would be total anarchy and slow as molasses.

Re:Don't Cap, Peer or Colocate (1)

forand (530402) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495747)

I think there is one group missing from your "everyone wins" statement, mainly the companions that provide both cable and internet access. Such companies, Comcast being one, do not want its users to stop paying for cable AND internet. By allowing competing video services such as those you listed into their internal networks thereby reducing the network congestion they are letting their paying customers gain access to content they provide but are not being paid for.

That is I use Comcast as my ISP (no other choice) but not cable. I pay for Netflix, Amazon Prime, and watch lots of stuff on Hulu and PBS.com. I pay about 20 a month for my service. My colleagues watch about the same amount of TV I do but get a "deal" with Comcast where they get Cable, Internet and Phone for 100/month. They also pay for Netflix and Amazon Prime. So from Comcasts point of view I am not worth as much as a customer. By placing these caps they are trying to make customers like myself pay for cable so they can watch content online because if Comcast cannot figure out how to make people like me pay them more they are looking at significant drop in revenue when my colleagues realize that 100/month for what Comcast offers isn't worth it and switch to a data only solution.

Data caps have nothing to do with relieving network congestion nor passing costs to those who are driving those costs. Network congestion is about usage at peak usage times, not about total bits passing through a router over the course of a month. If Comcast's network is volume limited then they have oversold their network and should reduce the maximum bandwidth a user has access to or improve their network. The costs of having a non-volume-limited network in place for the peak volume are not driven by the person who downloads videos off peak hours but by the hordes of customers doing every type of thing all at once. Thus the costs are not linked to the total amount of data downloaded in a month but to the bandwidth you are using at peak usage hours.

Caps are just a way for content middle men to protect their profit margins. Selling internet service alone is not as profitable as selling cable and internet.

Everyone except Comcast (1)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495863)

Comcast doesn't want to compete with the likes of Google, Apple, Amazon, and Netflix on an equal footing. Owning the network is the one advantage they have. If Xfinity was just one of several options, no one would pick it. You go with it because that's what the cable company offers and you go with the cable company because of where you live.

Re:Don't Cap, Peer or Colocate (1)

chuckinator (2409512) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495879)

That's not how peering works. You don't host boxes inside someone's network. You host BGP routers in the same carrier hotel as the other company and traverse those links to get into their network instead of paying for metered access through a leased line of some sort.

Re:Don't Cap, Peer or Colocate (2)

Above (100351) | more than 2 years ago | (#39496073)

Several of the CDN's, most notably Akamai try really hard to locate boxes inside of networks like Comcast so there is no peering or transit link to traverse. Often they in fact pay for the right to be inside the network, on the grounds that it increases performance.

I don't know how many, if any, CDN's are inside of Comcast's network and possibly _paying_ for the privilege to do so. However if Comcast wants to make the case that Internal traffic shouldn't count against caps with their own services I see no reason why it cap should count against these collocated CDN's as well.

Net Neutrality is about being _fair_. It seems to me if someone is locating stuff in the same basic (network) location as Comcast, and maybe even paying to do so, but their traffic is capped differently that's not fair.

250GB (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39495375)

Gawd, I can't even vaguely imagine using 250GB in one month... Canada's caps are typically on the 60-ish range, if you're lucky or 90-ish range if you pay a significant chunk of money. 250GB would be nirvana!

Oh, and to claim that doesn't violate net neutrality shows a complete lack of understanding of what net neutrality is. It's a poster child example of a violation of net neutrality.

Re:250GB (1)

AikonMGB (1013995) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495611)

Try again; I get a 300 GiB/mo cap at 24vMbps/1^Mbps for ~$50/mo. Get a better service provider (read: get off the incumbents).

Re:250GB (4, Insightful)

Ken D (100098) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495749)

That's what I thought too.
Then since we got a Roku and Netflix for Christmas, our monthly data usage has steadily climbed up from 10GB to 125GB. If our data usage continues to climb we will be at the limit in a few months and we have done nothing except basically replace cable TV with internet TV.

SDV, bandwidth, etc... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39495395)

I'm no expert but this is all about bandwidth, right? With the way modern cable works it probably costs them /less/ bandwidth to stream highly compressed video to an Xbox with faster decoding hardware than deliver normal video content to one of their own set top boxes... Video on your TV is bandwidth to them now more than ever. The pipe is not always full, you are asking them to send you content regardless of whats decoding it...

Re:SDV, bandwidth, etc... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495651)

Cable TV is sent via broadcast (Or multicast in IP packets, dependings where you are, not sure what Comcast does) - very efficient indeed. You can't do that for VoD though, at least not without major network redesign work and equipment replacement.

Comcast already broadcasts VoD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39496033)

Cable TV is sent via broadcast (Or multicast in IP packets, dependings where you are, not sure what Comcast does) - very efficient indeed. You can't do that for VoD though, at least not without major network redesign work and equipment replacement.

Not only can you sent VoD via broadcast, cable companies including Comcast have been doing it for years. When they do/did this they refer to such broadcast VoD as "Pay Per View (PPV)". In today's environment with FCC-mandated CableCard tuners they broadcast the VoD on a reserved ATSC channel and send updated authorization programming to your CableCard to allow you to tune to and decode that channel for the duration of the broadcast. Prior to universal adoption of the CableCards they would broadcast the VoD/PPV on a set of reserved ATSC channels ala frequency-hopping and send periodic signals to your cableco box telling it when to switch to which channel. Back in those days, if you had the patience and curiosity, you could actually watch your neighbor fast-forward, re-wind etc their VoD in real-time by using your own HDTV's ATSC tuner to find a channel their VoD was on.

This is surprising, how ? (5, Interesting)

mbone (558574) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495415)

These companies see themselves as gatekeepers, not service providers. In other words, they think that they will make money from their ability to control what you do or see, not by providing you with the ability to do something. Getting them to realize that their business model has, in fact, changed and that they now are, in fact, service providers is going to be a long and messy project.

Space Merchants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39495421)

Read the classic scifi for an introduction to the concept of "spherical trusts". And remember media isn't about delivering content, it's about delivering eyeballs.

If only Theodore Roosevelt were alive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39495503)

He'd destroy companies like Apple & Comcast.

A very key detail the summary is missing ... (3, Interesting)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495519)

You have to be a Comcast *TV* provider to use those services. If you stream HBOGO over your Comcast internet connection, when you get TV via FIOS, you pay for that bandwidth, because you're not a Comcast TV customer.

This isn't a net neutrality case, this is a case of Comcast delivering content from your *TV* service to you via IP instead of QAM.

I'd actually be pissed off if they weren't doing this, because it would mean it was free to watch on-demand using their cable boxes, but not my devices.

They Have a Point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39495541)

Full disclosure: I was fired by Comcast (don't worry, it's common and employers in the know don't hold it against you) and I dislike the company with every fiber of my being. I use Fios and everyone I know at Comcast would tell you Fios is technically better.

That said, this is just shifting normal TV watching on their system to a different medium. It makes some sense to not count against the overall count.

I don't buy the argument totally. It seems to violate the spirit of net neutrality if not the letter of the rule.

Slippery slope (2)

Taibhsear (1286214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495605)

Part of the problem here is they've effectively cordoned off the other services. There's us and them. Now all they have to do is squeeze them out with increasingly smaller bandwidth caps so that you'll use more Comcast controlled services to not go over your cap (and likely justify it with their inability to handle the traffic volume instead of actually upgrading their damned equipment which we paid for years ago, which they just pocketed the money for instead.) or they'll just start charging for anything non-comcraptastic. This is why it's a net neutrality problem.

Net Neutrality is a Ruse (2)

Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495645)

I think the point is abundantly clear in the following article:

http://readersupportednews.org/pm-section/186-186/4184-net-neutrality-is-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.

Why now? (3, Insightful)

bluestar (17362) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495807)

I am Jack's complete lack of surprise. This is exactly what everyone here was warning about when the whole Net Neutrality "controversy" started. I just wonder why Comcast thought now was the right time to do it.

Torrents? (1)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495813)

So, does this include torrents that don't route outside of Comcast's network? Presumably a good proportion of P2P need not cross their perimeter, I wonder if support for such "preferred" netranges can be added to P2P clients..

This violates the FCC deal (5, Interesting)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495849)

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.

Um... So what about those caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39495987)

So, let me get this strait. Caps are needed to solve network congestion because we don't have enough bandwidth right? The "pipes" are full. So why does their service magically not count against caps?

This may not be a net neutrality issue but this is textbook anti-competitive practices. Unless of course they can prove there service magically doesn't use bandwidth. Then again if they use magic in actual press release I'll have to call them Apple.

Re:Um... So what about those caps (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#39496137)

Because what matters is NOT your bandwidth to Comcast but THEIR bandwidth to the outside world. The more people using a Comcast connection to access NON-Comcast services, the more it costs them, because they need more external access and peering, which is "expensive".

What you do on your own network and (in theory) between two Comcast customers costs them virtually nothing. The capacity is already there.

More interesting - if they don't count this Comcast service, why do they count internal traffic (Comcast->Comcast subscribers) and can, say, Google get a box put into their network to cache Google requests and get "not counted" towards their subscriber's limits?

It's a feature not a bug (1)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 2 years ago | (#39495989)

Comcast is giving the customer more value for their money and people are complaining about net neutrality. Would it be better if Comcast counted it's own content against the cap?

Comcast is a cable company that provides television service which people pay extra for anyways, so it isn't free. The only difference is that you are distributing the content to PCs and tablets instead of a television set.

I don't see how anyone would argue that it should count against your bandwidth cap when you already pay for the TV service.

Re:It's a feature not a bug (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39496491)

> Comcast is giving the customer more value for their money

No they aren't. They are engaging in an obvious and blatant form of monopoly abuse. They are exploiting the natural monopoly part of their business to unfairly benefit the content delivery aspect of their business against rivals.

These rivals are well established first movers that rightfully deserve the "spoils" of innovating and providing new products.

Continued tolerance of these blatant monopoly activities will only drive the best companies out of the market while decreasing quality and increasing prices.

The ultimate result is in fact "less value for their money".

Where does this end? (1)

MacBrave (247640) | more than 2 years ago | (#39496001)

Would this be akin to having General Electric owning your electric company then saying that they won't charge you for the electricity used to power G.E. branded toasters and dishwashers (hello "smart grid")? Of course non-G.E. branded appliances would be charged as normal, or at a higher rate.

Aussie ISPs have been doing similar for ages (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39496331)

Sort of.

A few years ago, a friend in Australia said that content that was hosted "locally" (my words, not his) wasn't charged as much or at all, but "non-local" content was expensive.

I'm not sure if "local" meant "hosted on his ISP's network" or "hosted on-continent."

Now, to be fair, at the time, it really did cost at least his ISP a lot of money to handle traffic going to or from the undersea cable or over satellite. Things may be different now.

To level the playing field (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39496353)

Perhaps Comcast should allow Netflix etal to connect to the Comcast 'Private IP' network without cost.

If the Comcast video service has only one head end, then Netflix should only have to connect at that site.
Bandwidth and QOS should be comparable to what is provided to Comcast's video service.

That won't fix the problem for a new startup operating on a showstring,
      but it will fix it for slightly more established outfits.

Comcast seems to be forcing internet service to become a common carrier operation
    with the video separated inside Comcast by an accounting firewall.

I don't care (1)

CubicleZombie (2590497) | more than 2 years ago | (#39496421)

The first month I hit the cap (whatever it is) through normal home use, I'm cancelling the service outright. I've never had much sympathy for file sharing, but when they try to force me to give up Netflix/Hulu/Whatever and subscribe to HBO, I'm out.
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