Apple is quietly negotiating with some of the largest ISPs in the country in order to roll out their own Content Distribution Network, which would help ensure faster and more reliable downloads for iTunes content, iCloud data, and software (via StreamingMediaBlog). Apple has previously made strides to improve its networking infrastructure, including purchasing hardware to boost performance and creating a team dedicated to improving download speeds. It is also opening new Data Centers at a frenetic pace.
The creation of these deals with Internet Service Providers comes amid a firestorm surrounding net neutrality and peering deals of this type. Apple recently declined to join a group of 100 tech companies backing Net Neutrality in a written statement to the FCC.
Apple typically accounts for 2% of all internet traffic during peak hours in the US, though that number increases dramatically whenever they release a major software update — when iOS 7 was released, Apple’s content accounted for 40% of all traffic.
Apple would be building their own CDN for various reasons. iCloud infamously has had performance issues, but it also helps to put servers closer to users. Even with data centers on both coasts, Apple is still a long way away from most of its customers.
Similarly, a strong network is needed for streaming content like music and movies to devices. The Apple TV is no longer a hobby, and it is built around the concept of streaming content.
Regardless, Apple’s approach would be very different from that of Netflix, which has opted to take their fight against peering deals with Internet Service Providers to the public in the name of net neutrality. Instead of this, it seems that Apple has decided to quietly make peering deals that expand its infrastructure. Perhaps that’s why Apple has not made a strong show of support for net neutrality legislation in the United States.