Apple trolls net-neutrality fans, waves cash at Comcast

Apple and Comcast network neutrality rumor

Apple and Comcast, sitting in a tree. F. C. C. B. A. I. T. I. N. G. (even Chris is upset).

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) are in talks to get 'round network-neutrality rules, it's said. Apple's secret new Internet streaming TV service would supposedly do an end-run around Comcast's FCC consent agreement, by pretending that it wasn't really on the Internet at all.

Of course, it could all be a malicious rumor. But... y'know... it's Monday.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers stick it to The Man.

Heee's baaack from vacation: Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Huge thanks to Stephen Glasskeys for ably standing in for the last couple of weeks.


Shalini Ramachandran, Daisuke Wakabayashi, and Amol Sharma tag-team to channel "people familiar with the matter": in talks with Comcast [about] a streaming-television service that would use an Apple set-top box and get special treatment on Comcast's cables to ensure it bypasses congestion.


Apple...wants the new TV service's traffic to be separated from public Internet traffic over the "last mile" [and] ensure users don't see hiccups in the service or buffering...making its video the same quality as Comcast's TV transmissions.


Under the plan Apple proposed [its] video streams would be treated as a "managed service". ... Those services travel on a special portion of the cable pipe.  MORE


A managed whatnow? Jon Brodkin 'splains further:

Comcast would have to be careful not to violate network neutrality obligations. The [FCC's] rules against [ISPs] giving special treatment...were vacated by a court decision, but Comcast still has to follow the rules until 2018 because of commitments it made [when acquiring] NBCUniversal.


[But] "Managed" services could possibly be given their own path without violating net neutrality rules...which are loosely defined. ... Comcast could treat a third party's traffic as a specialized service as long as it offers similar terms to other companies.  MORE


So Simon Sharwood seems to say "meh":

File this one under “market tester”. “Sources familiar with” stories...are sometimes placed as a way of gauging response from investors, competitors and regulators. After all, we know Apple's spent years considering something televisual. Surely it can wait to get things just right.  MORE


But, predicting doom, tdiddy is incandescent:

Apple will pay Comcast’s tithe. ... Comcast, its shareholders, and the members of congress it lobbies to look the other way will ALL get paid. And Apple, Netflix, and whoever else is compelled to pay will pass this along to YOU.


I...will dissuade as many people as I can from using services that break the spirit of net neutrality.  MORE


Meanwhile, MG Siegler (slightly sarcastically) saw it coming:

Of course Apple is now talking with Comcast. Anyone could have predicted that. ... What choice do they have?


I’m shocked — SHOCKED — that the Comcast/Time Warner Cable deal has the potential to screw users in more ways than one.  MORE

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