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Apple in talks with Comcast for radical, new streaming service

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/25/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Proposed service by computer giant would bypass typical Internet congestion

Computer and gadget giant Apple Inc. is currently in talks with Comcast Corporation for a radically new and exciting streaming venture. The streaming television service would let Apple's set-top boxes to bypass congestion on the Internet.

The proposal between Comcast and Apple, many agree, raises a lot of questions for net neutrality.

The proposal between Comcast and Apple, many agree, raises a lot of questions for net neutrality.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
3/25/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Comcast, Apple, net neutrality


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Discussions are in the early stages. There are still lots of bridges to cross before an agreement is reached, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Apple says they want its TV service's traffic to be separated from public internet traffic over the "last mile" for faster transmission. The company is looking for special treatment from Comcast's cables to bypass congestion.

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Both Comcast and Apple are remaining mum on the specifics about the report.

Some analysts warn that such a plan would have a negative impact on "net neutrality." Such a plan would require that all Internet service providers, or ISPs treat all online content equally, charging everyone the same amount of fees for equally fast access to all Web sites.

Net-neutrality prevents ISPs from interfering with, blocking or discriminating against Web content. Once enshrined in U.S. law under the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules, this ruling prevented ISPs from prioritizing any one provider's traffic over another and ensured that consumers had equal access to all lawful content.

A federal court earlier this year struck down key parts of the rules, finding that the federal government cannot enforce net neutrality. In spite of the court's decision, Comcast had agreed to continue abiding by the rules until 2018.

Apple claims that it isn't seeking high-priority status from Comcast, but simply wants a "flow" that is separate from the rest of the Internet traffic.

There remain very real concerns that if the deal is reached, that it would set a precedent allowing third-party providers to pay for better access, leaving smaller companies paying higher fees for similar service - fees that would likely be passed on to consumers. 

The proposal, many agree, raises a lot of questions for net neutrality.

"This is an example of a company that feels like it needs to get permission from an ISP in order to launch a new service," Michael Weinberg, vice president of Public Knowledge, a D.C.-based public interest group, says. "In this case, it seems that they want to launch an online video service that would compete with Comcast's TV service. So the idea is if you want to launch a service that competes with an ISP, you need to get permission from the ISP first. That's not a very good state of affairs," he said.

Smaller companies and start-ups theoretically will be less competitive and any higher costs will be passed on to consumers. "It raises pricing in a way that is similar to cable TV pricing. You end up paying more as a consumer but you're not in a position to negotiate."

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