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Apple is the next company to negotiate with Comcast for a streaming fast lane

Apple is the next company to negotiate with Comcast for a streaming fast lane

Apple is following Netflix's lead and negotiating with Comcast to ensure broadband speed for streaming video. Some people view this as good news: Apple could be planning to do for TV what it did for music with iTunes. Also, who wouldn't want the best quality possible after shelling out for a new Apple TV? Slate has more:

According to the WSJ, Apple wants to make sure its streaming service has its own roadway through Comcast’s network so its data won’t get mired in other Internet traffic. That way, it will be able to deliver video with the same quality as Comcast’s cable offerings: no random pixelation, no sudden timeouts in the middle of your show.

But the fall of Net Neutrality won't come without victims, and the most likely candidates are consumers. Slate's Jordan Weissmann makes a good point:

Americans pay some of the highest prices for Internet access in the developed world; in return, they get some of the most mediocre service. That’s largely because consumers only have two or three providers in their geographic area, which doesn’t give Comcast or its peers a great deal of incentive to beef up their networks (or to lower prices). If the Netflix and potential Apple deals are any sign, it may now be especially profitable for ISPs to let their services stagnate. It’s perverse but true: The more bogged down the rest of the Web becomes, the more major content providers such as Netflix or Apple or Amazon will be paying for their own private fast lanes.

I wrote about this very problem a month ago. The free market needs competition to maximize utility for consumers. In fact, that's the real reason your cable bill is so high. Click here to read my take on the issue.

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