Comcast may have found a major loophole in the Federal Communication Commission’s network neutrality regulations. Earlier this month the company launched a new streaming video service for Comcast broadband customers called Stream TV. The service, which is only available in the greater Boston and Chicago areas so far, allows you to watch HBO as well as live local television stations on your computer, tablet or laptop. The catch is that the service will only work from your home.
That may sound like a big limitation, but it comes with a big perk for some users: Stream TV won’t count towards the 300GB data limit imposed on some Comcast broadband users. Since users who exceed that 300GB threshold are charged an extra $10 for every extra 50GB they use, up to $30 per month1, the $15-a-month Stream TV offering could be appealing to users worried that other video services, such as Netflix or Sling TV, will eat through their data allotment.
Comcast says this isn’t a violation of network neutrality law because, although you’re viewing Stream TV on your computer via your Comcast broadband connection, the service isn’t technically offered over the Internet, but over Comcast’s cable television network, much like its Xfinity Xbox 360 service, which allowed Xbox users to view video that didn’t count against their data limits and was shuttered last summer.