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Net Neutrality: Content Delivery Network is the next step for Apple

FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler speaks during a news conference after an open meeting to receive public comment on proposed open Internet notice.
FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler speaks during a news conference after an open meeting to receive public comment on proposed open Internet notice.
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

It would seem that while the rest of the tech industry was arguing about net neutrality last week, Apple was busy preparing for the worst. On Tuesday, industry analyst Dan Rayburn wrote a story that discussed Apple's apparent plan to build it's own content delivery network (CDN). Of course, with the future of net neutrality in question, Apple isn't the only company bracing for the inevitable impact by building a CDN of their own.

Just real quick: A content delivery network is just a means to distribute information quickly. It's essentially a big bunch of servers scattered around the world that helps de-centralize and dilute Internet traffic so that lots of people can access the same thing at the same time. Netflix operates a CDN; Amazon has a CDN. And now Apple is preparing to get into the market as well.

Now, why does this matter in terms of net neutrality? Because, according to TechPolicyDaily.com, "using a CDN is a way to leverage technology to improve user experience and enhance market share." Since the use of CDN's isn't free (or cheap), this method of disseminating data is geared to those content providers who are already making lots of cash. In other words, those companies who are already making big bucks are poised to continue doing so precisely because they have the money to insure better traffic via a CDN.

That's just for now, though. Last Thursday, Chairman of the Federal Communication Commission Tom Wheeler spoke strongly in favor of an open Internet: "There is one Internet, not a fast Internet or a slow Internet,” Wheeler explained. “I don't like to see that the internet could be defined by the haves and the have nots. Privileging some content to the disadvantage of others is unacceptable.”

For those who are unaware, the issue of net neutrality concerns the notion that internet service providers (ISP's) and the government should treat equally all the information on the internet. In other words, it's the idea that streaming video providers like Netflix, for example, cannot pay the people who sell you internet to make sure their service runs smoother or faster than one of their competitors, like Hulu.