DOJ looking into whether Comcast, other TV giants are unfairly (knee)capping Hulu, Netflix
The Department of Justice may have taken Netflix chief Reed Hastings’ net neutrality complaints about Comcast as a lot more than just sour grapes. It’s reportedly conducting an investigation into whether Comcast, AT&T and other TV providers are anti-competitive in their data restrictions. The Wall Street Journal cites primary concerns that Comcast’s Xfinity TV cap exemption might unfairly punish competing services, but also claims that officials are worried the caps themselves steer viewers away from internet video, helping the incumbents cling to legacy TV for just a little while longer. On top of its cap anxiety, the DOJ may be looking into policies requiring traditional TV subscriptions just to watch online. None of the involved parties have commented on or confirmed the investigations, so there’s no guarantee of any full-fledged lawsuit. Still, while TV operators insist they’re being fair and need to keep data use in check, that might not deter legal action when the DOJ has supposedly questioned Hulu, Netflix and other relative newcomers who feel they’re being squeezed. When Sony postpones its IPTV goals after fretting over US data caps, it’s hard to imagine that there aren’t at least a few raised eyebrows in Washington.
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