Thanks largely in part to the new Open Internet Order distributed by the Federal Communications Commission, Comcast may soon be forced to allow HBO GO on the PlayStation.
As publicly published by the FCC, [see link above] Comcast may have to abide by the new rules as set down by the commission in regard to their limiting HBO GO access to subscribers. Currently, those who subscribe to Comcast Communications and add HBO to their package are given the rights to HBO GO services so that you may stream HBO content without watching it directly on your cable box. With a subscription to COX Communcations or Time Warner Cable, those who buy in to HBO can choose any platform to view it on, Android, PlayStation, iOS, PC, whatever. Comcast doesn’t follow this rule, restricting access on any platforms which presumably do not make explicit agreements [and potentially payments] with Comcast.
As of two years ago, this restriction applied to multiple devices, including the PlayStation 3 and popular Roku streaming device, cutting out tens of millions of consumers from watching their subscribed content on their platform of choice. Now, thanks to the FCC this may finally change on PlayStation 4 and retroactively. According to the Open Internet “Brightline Rules”, Comcast may be breaking multiple rules which would open up access to consumers in the coming weeks/months.
- No Blocking: broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
- No Throttling: broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
- No Paid Prioritization: broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration of any kind—in other words, no “fast lanes.” This rule also bans ISPs from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates.
While it is yet unclear which of these reasons Comcast holds back access on Sony platforms, what is clear is that Comcast is holding back Sony, not the other way around. With open access to HBO GO on other service providers, Comcast will likely not be able to explain to the FCC and their consumers as to why they can’t offer the service as well. Thanks to the FCC, unless Comcast can figure out a way to justify their cause, and one loophole applies in the full text released by the FCC.
A person engaged in the provision of broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not block lawful content, applications, services, or nonharmful devices, subject to reasonable network management.
Basically, the only way Comcast can get out of this now, if they can prove that there is not paid prioritization, is to suggest that allowing HBO GO on Comcast High Speed Internet would casue them unreasonable network strain. Given that their high speed internet was recently doubled in speeds for free and the network currently is their highest profiting sector by a wide margin, we don’t see that happening.