Senator Al Franken questions Comcast on Xbox 360

Comedian-turned-Senator Al Franken wants the FCC to look into the way Comcast is offering streaming video on the Xbox 360.

Ever since the service went live, people have been questioning its implications on net neutrality. Comcast lets its existing cable subscribers stream unlimited amounts of video from the Xfinity app on Microsoft’s gaming console.

Users need to be connected online to the Xbox 360 through their Comcast broadband connection in order to be able to access the streaming video platform.

But no matter how much video content they consume, it won’t be applied toward their monthly data allotment on their Comcast broadband subscription. In other words, it treats that online content differently than any other form of online content.

Under the net neutrality policies of the Federal Communications Commission, that kind of practice would be prohibited…if Comcast didn’t exploit a loophole. The cable provider is powering this service through its own private IP network, which mean it isn’t subject to FCC neutrality policies.

Nevertheless, Franken doesn’t like it and wants an investigation. “Even if this does not amount to a technical violation, it certainly raises serious questions about how Comcast will favor its own content and services to the detriment of its competitors,” he wrote in a letter to the FCC.

The letter continues, “Comcast’s actions will almost certainly drive consumers to Comcast’s Xfinity Streampix, rather other Internet video streaming services, which I fear will thwart your agencies’ efforts to create an open and level playing field for current and future competitors of Comcast.”