Apple – who is said to be working on a new set-top box streamer – is reportedly in talks with cable provider Comcast to give the box priority on the company’s network to bypass Internet congestion, and provide constant and reliable performance for users.
The Wall Street Journal (via AppleInsider) reports the talks are in the early stages. Apple wants to have traffic for the new streamer separated from general web traffic on the connection between Comcast and the end user’s home.
Connections can slow down for cable modem users during peak usage hours when most customers are at home and accessing the Internet. This can play havoc with such streaming video services as Netflix, Apple’s own iTunes, and others.
“Apple’s goal would be to ensure users don’t see hiccups in the service or buffering that can take place while streaming Web video, making its video the same quality as Comcast’s TV transmissions to normal set-top boxes,” the report said.
The talks seem similar to discussions that were held between Comcast and Netflix. It was revealed in February that Netflix had shook hands on a deal with Comcast to boost its connection speeds.
Such agreements fly in the face of the desires of Net Neutrality proponents who believe all traffic on the net should be treated equally.
However, Apple’s requests of Comcast go further than just preferential traffic treatment, as they would reportedly require Comcast to make “significant investments in network equipment and other back-office technology.”