The Justice Department is reportedly conducting a broad antitrust investigation into whether cable companies are crossing legal lines to suppress competition from online video. “Justice Department officials have spoken to several online video providers, including Netflix and Hulu,” The Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources. Investigators have also reportedly questioned Comcast, Time Warner Cable and other cable companies about setting data caps, and limits to the amount of data a subscriber can download each month.
As WSJ notes, “Cable companies provide both television channels and high-speed Internet access for many consumers in the U.S.” Increasingly, “with broadband Internet, consumers can watch individual programs or channels through online video services like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon, bypassing the cable company's traditional bundles of channels.”
For cable companies, however, having already invested billions of dollars building their networks, some are showing “little inclination to get out of the business of packaging television channels and become mere conduits for other companies' data,” WSJ writes. Have they broken any laws in doing so? The DOJ is trying to find out.