March 23 (Reuters) - Apple Inc is in talks with Comcast Corp to enter into a deal for a streaming-television service that would allow Apple set-top boxes to bypass congestion on the web, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
The discussions are in early stages and there are a lot of hurdles to be crossed before a definitive agreement could be reached, the Journal said. (http://link.reuters.com/reb87v)
Apple, which wants its TV service's traffic to be separated from public internet traffic over the "last mile" for faster transmission, is looking for special treatment from Comcast's cables to bypass congestion, the report said.
Comcast declined to comment, while Apple was not immediately available for comment outside regular U.S. business hours.
Apple has been in talks for a faster TV set-top box with Time Warner Cable Inc, which recently agreed to be bought by Comcast.
Apple's $99 TV box competes with similar streaming devices from Roku and Google Inc.
Netflix agreed last month to pay Comcast Corp for faster speeds, throwing open the possibility that more content companies will have to shell out for better service.
The Federal Communications Commission is in the process of drafting a new "net-neutrality" bill that would ensure that network operators disclose exactly how they manage Internet traffic and that they do not restrict consumers' ability to surf the Web or use applications.
(Reporting by Arnab Sen in Bangalore and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)