Amidst growing concern over the Internet’s scalability in the face of rising online media consumption, Apple is rumored to be seeking a partnership with Comcast. If things go according to Apple’s plans, it will gain a huge advantage over other TV streaming rivals by having its content travel over a separate line along the “last mile”.
The “last mile” is a term used to denote that part of an Internet provider’s cable that connects directly to customers’ homes. These lines usually get easily congested as the number of simultaneous users increases, which is why certain providers use a separate line for things like video-on-demand or phone services. This is the kind of preferential treatment that Apple is said to be targeting for its own streaming TV offering via Comcast’s lines.
But to be precise, Apple isn’t asking to be prioritized over other Internet services, something which would go against certain net neutrality practices, as well as Comcast’s own restrictions when it purchased NBCUniversal in 2011. According to the conditions of the acquisition, Comcast is prohibited from unreasonably discriminating its network traffic. Apple is only seeking to be separated from more public Internet traffic similar to other provider-managed content streaming services.
This isn’t the first time Apple has tried to seek similar partnerships. In 2012, it was reported to also be in talks with Time Warner Cable, under the codename “Project Jupiter”. However, talks came to a halt when word that Time Warner would be taken over by another company began spreading. This became reality when Comcast announced its bid for Time Warner last month.
At the moment, the two still don’t see eye to eye on how much power each will give the other. Typical of the company, Apple wants users to use Apple IDs, control over customer data, and a cut in monthly subscription fees. Naturally, Comcast wants to hold on to majority of the control over the business. The talks between Apple and Comcast are said to be in the very early stages, so things can still go either way.
SOURCE: Wall Street Journal