As many have predicted, Comcast‘s likely continued failure to combat companies like Netflix in the courtroom has simply resulted in them playing a trump card: bandwidth. People who stream from Comcast’s new service to their Xboxes are exempt from getting docked from their monthly bandwidth cap for using the service.
Now, this is a pretty flagrant violation of net neutrality… on paper. In reality, this is more of a loophole. Comcast is simply shifting bits on its own internal network, and since the data never leaves the reservation, it’s technically exempt from the rules. Fighting neutrality has been a huge loser for communications companies in court, so they figure the barbarians can’t invade if they build a wall, and give their customers little reason to leave it.
These tactics are likely to be emulated in the near future on the Redbox/Verizon deal, with Hulu if Comcast continues to own it, and pretty much any other company that offers streaming and internet. Of course, Amazon and Netflix are also very likely to see this as a massive antitrust/monopoly issue, and will almost certainly sue. Will they be successful? Sadly, only the lobbyists know for sure.