The CEO of Dish Network’s Internet TV service, Sling TV, has called out Comcast for playing unfairly on the information superhighway. Sling TV’s Roger Lynch claims that Comcast’s new rollout of Internet data caps purposely prevent subscribers from cutting the cable-subscription cord, and seeking out Internet-based TV options.
Sling TV launched as a replacement for typical live TV providers by giving its users a lean, Internet-based option for a selection of popular networks. The company’s business centers on a $20 base package of over 20 popular channels, along with smaller bundles for $5 per month — a viable option for those who don’t want to buy into large cable packages with channels they don’t want.
Comcast could seriously damage the company’s business while simultaneously helping itself, by enforcing new data caps on streaming services that compete with its own Internet TV service, the data cap-dodging Stream TV
In a recent interview with cordcutting.com, Lynch leveled some pretty hefty allegations at the massive communications company, which routinely polls highly on the list of Americans’ most hated businesses.
“I think one of the areas we’re quite focused on is what’s happening in Washington, DC around net neutrality,” said Lynch. “We see concerning things happening if you look at cable companies like Comcast now instituting data caps that just happen to be at a level at or below what someone would use if they’re watching TV on the Internet—and at the same time launching their own streaming service that they say doesn’t count against the data cap.”
By exempting itself from its own data limits, executives at Comcast look to hold onto as many TV subscribers as possible, or to redirect would-be cable cutter to their own Internet services, rather than companies like Sling TV. Many would also argue Comcast’s policy of exempting its own service flies against new net neutrality rules, which aim to create fair play online for all companies, big or small.
Comcast is currently testing 300 gigabyte/month data caps in several cities, charging users a fee of $10 for every additional 50GB of data after they hit the cap. Medium to heavy users of streaming services like Sling TV, Netflix, or other bandwidth-hungry Internet services will be the hardest hit by the caps should they be rolled out nationwide. Lynch claims Comcasts caps “just happen to be at a level at or below what someone would use if they’re watching TV on the Internet.”
For companies like Sling TV, future growth in the market is dependent on being able to beat the caps, or to work with congress to create legislation that makes data capping more difficult for Internet providers.
As of right now, however, it appears the only thing executives at Sling TV and other companies like it can do is hope that Comcast backs down on its capping. If not, Sling TV could well see its service wither and die while waiting for Internet service providers like Google Fiber to expand coverage.