First, read this.
Is this the first instance of an access provider giving preferential treatment to data based solely on where it originates? Is removing the limitation of an arbitrary bandwidth cap truly “preferential” or a legitimate business decision?
Now I admit that Comcast claims this is on their “internal networks” and so this is why it won’t count towards bandwidth limits, but I’m willing to bet that it costs the same to maintain the equipment it travels on no matter where the bits are coming or going. I’m also willing to bet that the route the data follows is 99% the same as data coming from a service like Netflix on the “real internet” (granted with less “distance” to travel).
I’m sure their argument could still be made, however, but at the end of the day it’s a fine line. What’s to stop them from standing up their own version of another bandwidth intensive service like Spotify, iTunes, Pinterest or Backblaze and giving preferential treatment to their version? Granted, these hardly consume the bandwidth video streaming services like Netflix consume (as of today), but at what point does such a practice become anti-competitive?
I suppose since they’re not actively targeting traffic coming from a service like Netflix or Backblaze (e.g. through throttling or reduced quality of service) that they’re not really doing anything wrong? But again, where is the line?
Either way, bad news for Netflix and possibly any other number of media streaming or bandwidth-heavy services. Maybe Netflix should get with Verizon to open a similar door on their networks.