Inside the dispute over so-called ‘net neutrality’ and why it’s important to Apple users

“At the heart of the current net neutrality debate is Netflix, which earlier this year began paying cable provider Comcast to prioritize its service, allowing content to be delivered to users faster. The streaming service has since struck a similar deal with Verizon,” Stephen Robles writes for AppleInsider. “Those deals apply to the so-called ‘last mile’ of the Internet — the lines owned by a cable provider that connect to your home.”

“When you access Netflix on your Apple TV, the entertainment provider does not have a direct line to your modem or Wi-Fi router. That direct line into your home is instead owned by whatever cable company spent millions of dollars physically laying cabling or fiber to offer your neighborhood Internet service,” Robles writes. “That movie or TV show you begin streaming on your Apple TV must travel down two roads to get to your house: from Netflix to the cloud (Internet) and from the cloud to your device.”

“Until recently, these “roads” from content providers to the cloud and back down to the user have been treated like open pipes, completely unregulated. For years cable companies had no issue leaving these pipes wide open, as most of the content being delivered were static websites, images, Flash, and the occasional low-resolution video,” Robles writes. “The concern is that if cable providers keep cutting those types of deals, renting a movie from iTunes could be a different experience on Comcast than it is for Time Warner customers. If Apple paid Comcast for prioritization on its network, their customers could rent a movie and begin watching quickly, while Time Warner customers could still be waiting for it to buffer.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

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77 Comments

  1. Most people aren’t educated enough regarding how the internet works to determined how net neutrality should be implemented. It’s mostly due to ISP peering arrangements getting over saturated with video streaming from content providers like Netflix and future Netflix competitors.

    However, government regulating anything always has unforeseen consequences. These will likely slow down progress of the buildout of infrastructure, taxes, etc. if indeed Internet should be classified as a utility, it’s very possible bandwidth will be metered like a utility.

  2. HDTV is delivered as a stream of up to 19 Mbit/s, or 2,375 Mbyte/s. A cable TV provider does happily deliver that much data to an end user 24/7, and you can add easily double, triple, quadruple etc. that amount of data for each receiving device you add to your home, with no extra cost on your cable bill.

    Technically, there’s no issue here. I do not use up THAT much data, even with all the movies and TV shows I buy from iTunes.

    The thing is that the big providers do not want data other than their TV channels delivered to the same conditions because they can rip you off better with the cable TV deals. Their business is breaking down, and it’s their survival struggle.

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