Apple has been working on building its own Content Delivery Network (CDN) to speedily deliver digital content like music, videos, apps, software updates etc., to customers all over the world. For this, it has started negotiating with ISPs in the US.
Content Delivery Networks have servers spread all over the globe, so as to ensure that a request from a consumer for a particular file is delivered from a server that is closest geographically. This ensures that the time taken to download the file remains low. Apple currently outsources content delivery of iOS and Mac updates, and other digital content to Akamai, and is negotiating paid deals with US ISPs to build its own CDN.
As part of their build out, Apple is currently negotiating paid interconnection deals with some of the largest ISPs in the U.S. I’m not going to disclose which ISPs they are talking to and what deals they have already done, but it’s interesting to note that with all the talk lately of net neutrality, peering and interconnect relationships, Apple isn’t out in the market making any complaints.
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.
Streaming Media notes that unlike Netflix, which has similar paid deals with ISPs, Apple hasn’t publicly expressed concerns about how these deals are against the concept of net neutrality. At peak times, Apple’s software updates can account for nearly 40% of the traffic on an ISP’s networks, so by striking deals with ISPs, the company is ensuring that these downloads do not get slowed down.