Apple reportedly willing to pay internet providers to secure smooth content delivery

Apple TV

Apple is reported to be negotiating to pay ISPs for better streaming service. Frustrated with the quality of their iCloud service, Apple is said to be building their own CDN (content delivery network) to better manage pushing out the software updates, apps, and media that they distribute over the internet. But to make that happen, Apple is negotiating with the largest ISPs in the nation to guarantee faster and more reliable delivery for Apple services.

As reported by

What Apple is working on aligns with what all of the other big content syndicators out there have already built, which is a considerable amount of their own distributed origin infrastructure, for both large and small objects. Part of Apple's reasoning for building their own CDN is because of performance issues with iCloud, with Apple wanting to have more control over the end-user experience. Apple already controls the hardware, the OS and the iTunes/App store platforms. Right now Apple controls the entire customer experience, except for the way content is delivered to their devices, so it's only natural that a company of their size would build out their own CDN.

Negotiating such an agreement with the various ISPs could turn out to be expensive for Apple, it could be helping to pave the way for a streaming video service from Apple. Right now Apple's percentage of web traffic is relatively small in comparison to somebody like Netflix. That said, Netflix's enormous share of traffic led to them also negotiating a pricey agreement with Comcast to avoid their service going to hell.

Is Apple paying off the ISPs for better service something that you want to see happen, or would you rather they rally for net neutrality and spend their billions of dollars elsewhere?


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Derek Kessler

Managing Editor of Mobile Nations, occasional web designer, Army musician, armchair pundit, news addict, all-around nerd, professional ranter, and user of many phones.

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Reader comments

Apple reportedly willing to pay internet providers to secure smooth content delivery


This discussion is silly. All content distribution networks, including Google, already pay ISPs as per their peering agreements.

Such has been the nature of the Internet when you have unbalanced traffic (ie way more sent than received).

Upgrading their internal network to very high speed connections (ie 100Gbit/s or more) is insanely expensive for ISPs, who have no motivation to pay for it themselves since their customers won't pay more anyway.

So of course Apple has to pay as well.

Content is not *sent* to the ISP. Content is *requested by customers of that ISP*, customers the ISP is already charging for that service. These fees are double-dipping - charging both sender and recipient for the same packets.

I agree on the double dipping. Content providers pay for a certain amount of bandwidth going out, just because they send videos over it shouldn't make it more expensive. No, the problem lies with the ISPs overselling their lines and vigorous use of traffic shaping and predicting. I wish Apple would just buy Comcast, instead of negotiating with them.

It's disappointing that Apple is encouraging this sort of behavior, but not surprising; Once Netflix showed the ISPs a new source of revenue they would find it difficult not to continue on that route.

Disappointing, but hardly surprising. This is why Apple did not sign that net neutrality petition most major tech companies signed a few weeks back, because Apple has more money than they know what to do with (literally), so these fees are nothing to them. They will pay them, and to hell with the little guy or the principle.

Sent from the iMore App

So how many times should an ISP get paid for delivering the same bits? I'm not getting anywhere near the level of service to my home that I'm paying for now. So they want someone else to pay them again.... As if that would really increase my perceived level of experience. My fingers are crossed that my area will get Google Fiber. Sooner would be much better than later!

So, I guess that you can guess by my response where I stand on the issue. The current crop of ISPs nationwide are little better than hostage-taking pirates. They just substitute data bits for people in their ransom demands.

I see nothing at all wrong with Apple buying pipes from their servers directly to service providers' NOCs. Better, more reliable service.

Disclaimer: I'm not trolling, flaming nor trying to generate controversy....

So here I go anyway.

I agree that there is nothing wrong with Apple paying for extra pipe capacity from their servers to the various ISPs Network Operations Centers (aka NOCs) (I try to avoid TDM TLAs). But.... My understanding is that is _not_ what is happening here. Future revelations may prove me wrong, but the article states that Apple is paying the ISPs to _guarantee_ faster and more reliable delivery of bits. It does not say that Apple is paying for fatter pipes.

In other words, ransom paid to the ISPs by Apple will guarantee that the ISPs will _try harder_ to deliver Apple's bits'n'bytes than say, Uncle Joe's blog site. I pay my ISPs for service level X that should deliver bits'n'bytes to me at some speed at least approximating the nominal stated speed of service level X. Yet, under the Pay for Priority scheme that the ISPs wish to impose, those web sites and services which pay will arrive at my device faster and more reliably than the bits'n'bytes from Uncle Joe's web site / service which does not fork over the ransom.

How is that fair?