The new video app from Comcast, Stream TV, won’t count against the infamous 300 GB monthly data cap that was recently instituted by Comcast. This means that viewers will be able to watch as much TV as they want without having to worry about a limit.
However, critics are still attacking the program, saying that it is a potential violation of net neutrality. Based on the net neutrality principle, all web traffic has to be treated equally. Since different rules would be applied to the content of Stream TV, many are saying that this does not fall in line with this required policy.
Some people believe that Comcast is unfairly using the net neutrality principle to bring customers to their Stream TV app instead of other streaming services like Netflix. While Stream TV won’t count against the 300 GB data limit, other services still will. This could convince some customers to use Stream TV instead of competitors.
However, the net neutrality rules might not even apply to Stream TV. This is because Stream TV represents “cable video service” and not streamed internet service. Net neutrality does not apply to cable television. If Comcast can convince the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that Stream TV is cable and not internet, then the cable and internet provider would very likely be able to get away with this.
Some people believe that companies like Comcast shouldn’t be allowed to offer unlimited streaming packages such as this. They say that it gives Comcast an unfair advantage in the market place, and it creates major barriers to entry for smaller companies.
Since Comcast controls both the internet and the cable market, it can essentially force other streaming services to abide by its data caps, while Comcast themselves can work around the issue. This could realistically lead to antitrust violations for Comcast.
Meanwhile, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says that the internet and streaming services should promote competition and innovation. This measure by Comcast would be against both principles. For now, representatives of the FCC say that the agency is reviewing the situation.