Apple and Comcast in Talks for Streaming Partnership?

Giants may work out deal that would give users preferential treatment on cable's 'last mile'

Could Comcast users say goodbye to fuzzy, buffering videos and hello to fast, HD-quality content thanks to a rumored deal with Apple? 

The Wall Street Journal reported that unnamed sources say Apple and Comcast are negotiating a streaming television service deal that would give the cable giant's customers who own Apple set-top boxes preferential treatment on its network. 

When everyone in the network is trying to access too much online content simultaneously, the "last mile"—the final part of the cable wires that delivers service to the customers—tends to get congested.

Internet service providers argue that content makers that absorb a lot of bandwith should be responsible for hogging the space. However, the other side is preaching net neutrality, which hinges on the idea that all data online should be viewed on equal footing by Internet service providers and governments. 

Netflix famously agreed to pay Comcast in order to allow the streaming video company to directly connect to the cable giant's broadband network to prevent traffic jams in February. Then, just a month later, it bashed Comcast for being an "an industry leader in supporting weak net neutrality."

Apple had also been previously rumored to be talking with Time Warner Cable and other companies about getting access to live TV channels and video content for a new Apple TV device, Bloomberg reported. Comcast announced it was buying TWC in mid-February for $45.2 billion. The merger is still being reviewed by the U.S. government.

A January court decision ruled that the Federal Communications Commission does not have the authority to prevent Internet service providers and their ilk from blocking and discriminating against certain content providers. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said that the government will re-attempt to create guidelines to help regulate the arena.

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