Netflix and Comcast will be available on the same cable box, but Netflix videos will still count against Comcast data caps, according to ArsTechnica. Earlier this month, Re/code reported Netflix’s deal to get its video on Comcast’s X1 set-top boxes alongside traditional cable TV channels later this year. At that time, Re/code reported that the companies said they have much work to do before the service is made available to consumers.
No exemption from data caps
This deal raised many questions about whether or not the streaming giant would be exempt from Comcast data caps. When asked if Netflix would continue counting against data caps after being integrated into Comcast cable boxes, a Comcast spokesperson answered “yes.”
Comcast told ArsTechnica, “All data that flows over the public Internet (which includes Netflix) counts toward a customer’s monthly data usage.”
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Netflix said it would not answer more questions on the Comcast integration until it launches. Neither company has disclosed the financial terms of the deal or said whether pricing for consumers will be any different from buying Netflix and Comcast TV separately.
Comcast imposes 1TB monthly caps with overage fees ranging from $10 to $200 a month unless customers pay an extra $50 for unlimited data. Netflix and Comcast have had a rocky relationship with some of their fights in respect to data caps and data cap exemptions (also known as zero-rating).
In 2012, when the cable company exempted its Xfinity on-demand video for the Xbox 360 from data caps while counting HBO, Hulu and Netflix usage against the cap, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings accused Comcast of no longer following net neutrality principles. Then in 2014, Comcast and the streaming giant fought over whether or not the latter should pay to send video traffic directly onto Comcast’s network. The streaming service paid up eventually.
Last year, Netflix struck a deal to exempt its video from data caps imposed by an ISP in Australia despite its general opposition to data cap exemptions. But after criticism, the streaming giant said that it would avoid such deals in the future and that selective enforcement “effectively condone[s] discrimination among video services (some capped, some not).”
Eventually, it joined another data cap exemption program on T-Mobile USA’s mobile network, saying T-Mobile’s zero-rating is OK because it is open to video providers without payment being required.