Last week, Netflix released a ranking of ISP performance, finding Charter had the best performing network followed by Comcast, CableOne, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Suddenlink and Cablevision.

There was a rather noticeable gap on the graph between Cablevision and the eighth-best-performing network – Verizon, and an even deeper chasm between Verizon and the ninth-best-performing network – AT&T. But the telcos’ lower rankings are due in part to methodology; Netflix shows AT&T’s and Verizon’s performance as an average across their DSL and fiber offerings. (For the graph, click here).

Netflix’s rankings let cable operators bask in the glory of their fast-performing networks for a little while. However, a couple of heavyweights made announcements yesterday that will cause operators to get their focus back on their networks.

At a tech gathering in San Francisco, Apple introduced iCloud, a set of free cloud services that encourages people to store vast amounts of data in the cloud for access from any device. Analysts already are predicting iCloud will enable more data activity from more devices, with the upshot of more traffic traversing networks.

Apple’s iCloud works with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC apps to store content in iCloud automatically and wirelessly, and to push it to devices. When anything changes on a user’s device, all of his or her devices wirelessly update almost instantly.
 
“Today it is a real hassle and very frustrating to keep all your information and content up-to-date across all your devices,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a statement (he was at the affair in person, taking time away from his medical leave from the company). “iCloud keeps your important information and content up to date across all your devices. All of this happens automatically and wirelessly, and because it’s integrated into our apps you don’t even need to think about it.”

Apple is ready to ramp iCloud in its three data centers, the third recently completed in Maiden, N.C. The company has invested more than $500 million in its Maiden data center to support the expected customer demand for the free iCloud services, which will go commercial sometime this fall.

Expanded Xbox Programming Access, Capabilities

And at Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, Microsoft reiterated its commitment to expand Xbox access to live television programming to more providers this year.

During the past two years, Microsoft has joined with Sky TV in the United Kingdom, with Canal+ in France and with Foxtel in Australia to bring live television to Xbox Live. It now promises to expand access to live TV programming on Xbox 360 to more providers in the United States and around the world during the upcoming year, but did not release any details.

While the software giant didn’t make any major new announcements about streaming video on Xbox 360 at the E3 conference, it did unveil “voice search with Bing” on Xbox, which searches Netflix, Hulu Plus and ESPN as well as music, video and Xbox LIVE Marketplace via voice.

-Linda Hardesty

The Daily

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