Netflix CEO: Comcast flouts 'net neutrality' principles

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Rather than file a complaint to the Federal Communications Commission, Netflix (Nasdaq:NFLX) Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings turned to Facebook over the weekend to complain that Comcast (Nasdaq:CMCSA) is "no longer following net neutrality principles."

Hastings and other Web video companies have expressed concerns in the past that Comcast and other cable MSOs would discriminate online video rivals by throttling the speeds of their broadband networks, making it more difficult for Netflix and other content suppliers to video to its subscribers.

In his post Sunday, Hastings complained not about broadband speeds, but that Comcast might limit the amount subscribers can download from rival content suppliers.

"I spent the weekend enjoying four good Internet video apps on my Xbox: Netflix, HBO GO, Xfinity, and Hulu. When I watch video on my Xbox from three of these four apps, it counts against my Comcast Internet cap. When I watch through Comcast's Xfinity app, however, it does not count against my Comcast internet cap," Hastings wrote.

In 2008, Comcast placed a 250 GB monthly download cap on its high-speed Internet service. Comcast doesn't yet charge subscribers that exceed the limit, but warns customers that they could be disconnected from service if they repeatedly exceed the cap.

Hastings noted, in his post, that TV series and movies that Comcast subscribers download through its Xfinity app aren't applied against the amount of data subscribers download each month. He asked, "In what way is this neutral?"

According to Comcast, the 250 GB cap would allow a subscriber to watch about 100 to 800 hours of streaming video each month, depending upon the quality of the video. While few subscribers watch enough online video to bust its cap, heavy Netflix users could exceed the limit.

For more:
- see the Facebook post from Hastings
- CNET has this story

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