Next month, Comcast will be announcing three exciting new services to join StreamPix: StreamJamz, StreamGamz and StreamPeeps. Like StreamPix, content downloaded or streamed from any of these new services will be exempt from the company’s monthly data caps.
StreamJamz is an unlimited streaming music service, similar to offerings from Spotify, Grooveshark and Sony.
StreamGamz is an unlimited video game download and multiplayer gaming platform, similar to offerings from Steam and EA’s Origin.
StreamPeeps is a VoIP 1080p HD video conferencing service, similar to offerings from Skype and Apple.
All 4 services are included with XFINITY HD Triple Play packages for no additional charge. You can add any of the streaming services to other packages for only $4.99 a month per service.
**********[ 3 months later ]***********
Comcast has announced the addition of an ‘Internet-Lite’ option for all of their XFINITY High Speed Internet plans. Any current plan can be converted to a ‘Lite’ plan, which will include a $20 discount off regular rates, and lower the monthly data cap to 10GB. This should come as great news for XFINITY Triple Play customers who already have unlimited access to XFINITY’s great SteamPix, StreamJamz, StreamGamz and StreamPeeps services for all of their streaming video, music, gaming and video-conferencing needs. One stop shop entertainment, no need to subscribe to multiple services.
***********[ 2 years later ]************
Comcast has announced that it will be raising rates on all of their XFINITY High Speed Internet plans by $25. This includes their 10GB capped ‘Lite’ plans, as well as their regular 250GB plans. At a recent stockholder meeting, a top Comcast executive was heard saying, “We believe the added value of our unlimited SteamPix, StreamJamz, StreamGamz and StreamPeeps services warrant the price increase, as they provide our customers with all of their streaming video, music, gaming and video-conferencing needs, without having to worry about silly data caps.
And just like that, Comcast has managed to lower the data cap on their broadband plans to a measly 10GB, while actually raising the price, and putting Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Grooveshark, Steam, Origin, Skype, Apple, all in a greatly disadvantaged competitive position. By not blocking any particular competing service, Comcast will have managed to sidestep Net-Neutrality restrictions, while severely limiting how much their customers can use any competing services. Yes, I made all of this up, but there’s nothing stopping Comcast from following this plan to the letter (including the stupid service plan names), if their new StreamPix service is allowed to proceed unchallenged by the FTC.
With nothing stopping them, Time Warner, Verizon, AT&T et al will surely follow suit. How long will Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Grooveshark, Skype and the rest of the free-market competition last? How many new services, like the one Sony was considering, will never have been started? And most US customers don’t have many, if any options when choosing their ISP, so they can’t just go somewhere else if they don’t like Comcast’s (or whoever)’s offerings. The FTC needs to step in now, to stop ISP’s from dictating what their networks can be used for, and putting countless competitors out of business.