Antitrust Probe into Cable Companies

Internet video providers have found success in recent years by offering content that can stream to TV, computers, tablets and smart phones.  YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu have saturated the media market to such a degree that most people are cutting out the high prices of big cable providers such as Comcast and DirecTV.  Now there are concerns from the government that the cable providers are fighting back by limiting the usage of these growing companies by the consumers.

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Most cable companies offer bundles that include home phones and internet.  Since the online video content offer around the same kinds of videos at a much smaller cost, cable companies are becoming mere internet providers so that others can profit on TV shows and movies.  It is alleged that cable providers are putting unfair limits on data usage which offers the providers an unfair advantage. Comcast announced just this year that content streamed with its Xfinity application would not be counted against subscribers’ total bandwidth usage caps.

The Chief Technology Officer of Comcast said as a response to these claims that no priority is given to Comcast transmissions.  Netflix CEO has also criticized Comcast, saying that “Comcast should apply all caps equally, or not at all.”  Consumer advocate groups say the bandwidth cap exemption violates the Net neutrality rules that Comcast had to agree to according to the FCC. These rules forbid internet providers from favoring their own content on the open Internet over that of their competitors.  It is now up to the government to decide if these cable providers are playing fair.

Antitrust suits are aimed at maintaining a successful and competitive marketplace.  The protection is two-fold; consumers are protected from high priced and low quality products or services and businesses are protected from bigger businesses that practice exclusionary practices.  While the World Trade Organization is responsible to moderate these types of issues but an experienced business attorney will be able to assist you with any antitrust complaints you may have.  If you feel that the rules of competition have been broken by a competitor, please contact an Illinois based business lawyer today.