What Apple’s new content delivery network means for so-called ‘net neutrality’ – and for you

“In late July, Apple reportedly brought online its own content distribution network (CDN), a way of pushing data files closer to end-users,” Glenn Fleishman writes for Macworld. “A CDN can reduce the number of hops and the amount of intermediate bandwidth required to speed files and data—like an iOS update, a streaming movie, or a software download—between the content provider and the recipient.”

“All of that can be a huge benefit to the ordinary user, but it’s not all upside,” Fleishman writes. “Given that a CDN either connects its networks directly with major Internet service providers (ISPs) or co-locates server hardware within ISP network operations, they can also raise concerns in terms of net neutrality. And Apple’s venture is no different.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple’s content delivery network now live; paid interconnect deals with ISPs, massive capacity in place – August 1, 2014
Apple’s content delivery network is reportedly live and it’s positively massive – July 31, 2014
Apple negotiating paid interconnect deals with ISPs for their own Content Delivery Network – May 20, 2014

7 Comments

  1. The problem with most net neutrality proponents is that they are clueless as to how the Internet works. I am a proponent of Net Neutrality as it applies to the core of the Internet. My issue is that it is, or it has become, the most misrepresented technology issue I’ve ever encountered.

    People yak about fast lanes and slow lanes without realizing that fast lanes through things like CDNs have always existed. This doesn’t harm your speed, it just places the content you want closer to you geographically on the Internet. This results in better performance for you, and better overall Internet performance as all that heavy video isn’t being pushed through the core.

    Yet if we aren’t very careful with the wording of Net Neutrality we might inadvertently make what Apple is doing illegal.

    People like Netflix also place content servers directly in Edge provider sites. Edge providers are companies like COMCAST and TimeWarner. So when you go to get a movie on NetFLIX, you’re pulling data from your ISP’s data center as opposed to going out over the internet, and pulling it back. Much more efficient, much faster, and it improves overall Internet performance again.

    But when the politicians got involved they started screaming bloody murder about NetFlix paying to do this. NETFLIX IS PAYING FOR A FAST LANE! OMG! IT’S THE END OF THE INTERNET! and so on. I don’t think Netflix should have to pay either. Google doesn’t charge to locate a content server at their site. COMCAST apparently reams Netflix though. Still, it’s no fast lane, it doesn’t prevent me from using competitive services etc.

    What I worry about though is folks like COMCAST starting to play around with how they charge us, putting packages together like they do for cable television and that sort of crap. What I want Net Neutrality to do is prevent those sorts of shenanigans.

  2. I’ve pretty much come around to the MDN view on this, that net neutrality is difficult to define, and getting more difficult all the time and it’s probably best to let the free market handle it, and use existing antitrust laws to deal with people who try to pick winners on the Internet.

    There’s a good article on WIRED that everyone who believes in Net Neutrality should read:

    ‘MOST OF THE POINTS OF THE DEBATE ARE ARTIFICIAL, DISTRACTING, AND BASED ON AN INCORRECT MENTAL MODEL ON HOW THE INTERNET WORKS.’
Very Important Article to read: http://www.wired.com/2014/06/net_neutrality_missing/

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.