Apple reportedly to build its own high-speed data network

Such a network could ensure speedier delivery of iTunes content and other data and reduce some of Apple's reliance on third-party network providers.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Its own high-speed network would make Apple less reliant on third-party network providers. California Institute of Technology

Apple may cook up its own high-speed data network so it can control and more quickly push out music, videos and other content to its users via the cloud.

The company wants to own and control network pipes, or cables, to link its four large US data centers and Internet hubs in certain unnamed cities, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing "people familiar with the plans." The goal would be to shoot more data through its own network, thus avoiding the huge fees involved in renting network capacity from other companies.

Apple users already chew up network data streams by downloading iTunes content and using iCloud to store and sync their personal files. Apple will reportedly unveil its own music streaming music service at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, thus putting more onus on the company to provide the necessary network bandwidth. Reports have also surfaced for years that Apple wants to roll out its own online TV service. With all that potential data, Apple doesn't want its users bumping into traffic jams, hence a potential need to build its own network.

"User experience is very important to Apple, but delivery of its content is the one part of that experience it doesn't control," Andrew Schmitt, an analyst at IHS Infonetics Research, told Bloomberg. "If they want to control and maximize that user experience, they're going to have to control that last piece."

Apple will still rely on its current network providers but wants to create and control its own network as a supplemental resource, according to the sources. The process would move the network pipes that connect Apple's data centers in California, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon and other locations closer to Internet hubs in more populated areas. Content from Apple would then find its way to consumers through broadband networks and cellular towers. Apple has been working on a way to send data through fiber lines at hundreds of gigabits per second, according to one of Bloomberg's sources.

Apple will also upgrade its process for building data centers. Instead of buying off-the-shelf servers, switches and other equipment from such suppliers as Hewlett-Packard and Cisco, Apple would work with other companies to design its own equipment, which would then be made by third-party manufacturers.

Apple is expected to spend billions on the new network and upgraded data centers, according to Bloomberg's sources. In February, the company announced that it would convert a failed sapphire plan in Arizona into a data center, a task that Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said would entail a $2 billion investment from Apple.

An Apple spokesman declined CNET's request for comment.