Apple, other tech companies fed up with slow Internet speeds

“A battle is brewing between big tech companies and broadband providers over how to deliver your favorite websites and media to your home,” James O’Toole reports for CNNMoney. “Fed up with broadband providers’ slow Internet speeds, some Silicon Valley giants are taking matters into their own hands.”

“Google is taking on the Internet service providers at their own game, announcing plans last month to expand its ultra-high-speed Internet network, Google Fiber,” O’Toole reports. “Netflix, meanwhile, has invested in its own infrastructure for content delivery and has reluctantly paid for direct connections with ISPs… Apple, for its part, is looking to set up a streaming television service that would “get special treatment on Comcast’s cables to ensure it bypasses congestion on the Web,” The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.”

“Since there’s little competition in the broadband industry, some industry experts believe that there’s little incentive for broadband providers to dramatically beef up their bandwidth and drastically improve their infrastructure to adequately provide for online video demands,” O’Toole reports. “‘These guys are all in harvesting mode — they’ve made their investments and they’re simply reaping the rewards,’ said Susan Crawford, a professor at Cardozo Law School. Silicon Valley, which relies on the Internet as a portal to its customers, is unsatisfied.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related article:
Apple in talks with Comcast about streaming-TV service; companies discussing deal to bypass web congestion – March 24, 2014

34 Comments

    1. The ATV3 settings recommend 8 mbps. In my rural town, DSL top speed is 1.5 mbps. But I’m on a small island in the middle of the Pacific. The telco marketing says “up to 7 mbps” — hahahaha. My 1.5 mbps is a little over 2x the theoretical speed of an old 56k modem. Anyone have a “tin can and string” adapter for that old modem? 😉

      1. update: “up to 7 mbps” is the only tier offered by the telco. Basic land phone + DSL + taxes = $70 USD. I told ’em the dial tone stopped working last week and was told the earliest available repair was scheduled in 17 days…

  1. Not saying bandwidth shouldn’t improve in the US but….

    … lucky you you don’t live in South America!! It’s a joke over here. My DSL in California back in 2000 was faster than the top-notch Internet access here.

    All I can say is, it could be worse. Much, much, much worse.

    1. Sad truth is that my Internet connection here in the United States hasn’t gotten much faster in the past 10 years.

      Where I live, we hit 7 to 10 mbs (which is usually closer to 5) many years ago and haven’t budged since. And upload speeds haven’t changed at all in that time even for the best plans available where I live.

      Prices, on the other hand, continue to climb year after year. Huh?

    2. I am an expat in Saudi Arabia where the high speed internet seems to be pulled along by up to two camels at a paltry speed of 3.75 Mbps and pushed out at 0.34 Mbps. In Canada, I had 20 Mbps as the least expensive option.

    3. I recently visited family in a large Colombian city. After visiting, I have a better appreciation for the standardization and neatness of the low voltage cable TV and telephone connections on the pole on our island. I saw a Colombian store front advertising fiber internet installations and yet each pole was mass of spaghetti low voltage wiring. Looks like anyone who could climb a pole, cut and splice wire, did, and probably many do-it-yourselfers. There were wires hanging down within six feet of the ground and connectors nailed 360 degrees around the pole in a huge mass of wires. It looked like a historical photo of DC electrical wiring way back in Edison’s time. My sympathies to you in your part of S.A.. I might complain about 56k modems, but folks still use ’em when they are lucky enough to have dedicated, wired phone service.

  2. That how this shit country works.

    Provide a product for x dollars. Actually product is shitty and not worth even .5x dollars. You get angry.

    Then they promise 2x product for 2x dollars. Product is once again shitty and is at about the quality of the original should have been but you are paying 2x money.

    Murican corporations talk about how great they are instead of actually being great. Apple is one of the few exceptions to this rule and actually are good enough that they could be considered European quality.

  3. I’m in Silicon Valley. Comcast is pretty good in our town. I have a 105mbps package, but consistently get over 120mbps. They’re about to upgrade that to 300mbps.

    The reason Comcast wants to upgrade is because they know that they can charge more per tier, sell more of their own services, and put off competition they’re getting from 4G/LTE and still from DSL.

    1. The fact that Comcast is marketing their bandwidth in mega-bits (mbps) and not mega-bytes (MBps) should be a clue that they are not honest actors. And those are always download speeds. Comcast’s typical upload speed is only 1/10th their download.

      1. Networking speeds have almost always universally been measured in bits per second, be they kilobits, megabits, gigabits, it’s not dishonest, it’s the standard unit of measurement in the industry. It would be confusing for them to be the only ones measuring in bytes.

        For upload, I’m getting 25mbps or roughly 1/5 of the download, but again, this isn’t dishonest, they state in all of their marketing and when you sign up that the package speeds are “Up to 105mbps down and up to 20mbps up”. Despite the “Up to” language, I’m consistently getting better speeds, and not just better speeds to their switch, but better speeds to 3rd party servers.

        Not only is this not dishonest, but it’s totally reasonable. When you have a pipe with finite bandwidth and can choose how to allocate upstream versus downstream bandwidth on that pipe, it makes total sense for there to be a priority for downstream traffic on the client side as it does for upstream traffic on the server side.

    1. Maybe not a cable/optical solution, but I could envisage Apple being keen on some sort of wireless solution that allows a fast connection over a range of ten miles or so.

      Apple likes to offer a seamless experience and the dumb pipes and service providers are the weak link in many countries.

  4. Fiber is supposed to run 100 times faster than typical broadband connections, which travel through copper cables instead of fiber-optic ones.
    7.7 percent of United States homes have fiber connections, compared with two-thirds in parts of Asia. (Our competition going forward)
    Google is talking about expanding fiber to 34 metro areas, I say bring it on.

  5. Our ISP Provider here charges $59.95 a month for wireless and download speeds are supposed to be 5Mbps down and 2Mbps up. What we actually get is 3Mbps down and .50 Kbps up. We keep hearing they are upgrading the towers to new equipment, but nothing has changed.

    Our ISP Provider here is called Rhino Communications here in Oklahoma. They are actually owned by JAB Communications in some other state.

  6. The capitalist/free market types will insist that what will happen is the demand will push technology/inventiveness and other, low costs means will be found to transmit data. As with many things, this is theoretically correct and over the long term, that may happen. But meanwhile, we as a county are falling behind in utilizing one of the most important technologies of our time and are not as productive as we could and should be – thus we are wasting money.

    Broadband should be as ubiquious as electricity and like electricity, should be semi-regulated and a fair pricing structure put in place. Why I can get electricity for my house at a less cost monthly than I can broadband is beyond me, considering the incredible capital cost and ongoing costs required to generate electricity.

  7. I’m from the UK and we have good completion that drives down prices & drives up speeds.

    I’m currently paying £20pm ($33) for 50mb fibre. That’s just for broadband, not calls.
    I don’t know if in the US you have your calls included in your broadband (can someone let me know) but if you include my call plan and line rental the total is £41pm ($68).

    If you’re paying nearly $60 for 5Mb speeds then, I’m sorry to say, you’re getting screwed.

  8. Didn’t we the tax payers, pay to have fiber optic laid from the late 90’s until now? These companies act as if they own the pipes and in turn, want full control. Exclusives to one or two cable providers need to end. Where the competition? Without it, we’re doomed to slow upgrades, high prices, mediocre performance, lack of innovation, and so on. Congress needs to get its heads out of their butts and pass some legislation that could save a lot of hard working people a lot of money. They just don’t care about the middle class.

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