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Squid game craze: Netflix sued by South Korean broadband firm over traffic surge

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South Korean Internet service provider SK Broadband has sued Netflix to pay for increased network traffic and maintenance work costs due to increased viewership for the American firm’s content, an SK spokesperson said on Friday. The move comes after a Seoul court said Netflix should give an Internet service provider something “reasonable” for network use, and several South Korean lawmakers have spoken out against content providers who continue to generate explosive traffic for network use despite do not pay.

Netflix said it would review SK Broadband’s claim, and seek talks and ways to work with SK Broadband in the meantime to ensure customers are not affected.

The popularity of the hit series Squid Game and other offerings has underscored Netflix’s position as the country’s second-largest data traffic generator after Google’s YouTube, but the only two not to pay network usage fees, which are other content. Providers such as Amazon, Apple and Facebook are paying, SK said.

Netflix’s data traffic handled by SK grew 24 times from May 2018 to 1.2 trillion bits of data processed per second, SK said, riding on the success of several Netflix productions, including Squid Game and DP from Korea.

SK Broadband said it has filed a lawsuit against Netflix for paying to use SK’s network after Netflix began using SK’s dedicated line from 2018 to allow viewers in Korea to connect to servers in Japan. To deliver large amounts of data-heavy, high-definition video content. Hong Kong.

Last year, Netflix brought its own lawsuit over whether it had any obligation to pay SK for use of the network, arguing that Netflix’s duty ends with creating content and leaving it accessible. It said SK’s expenses were incurred while fulfilling its contractual obligations to Internet users, and that delivery in the Internet world is “free of charge as a principle”, according to court documents.

But the Seoul Central District Court ruled against Netflix in June, saying that SK is seen as “a service provided at a cost” and that Netflix is ​​”obligated to provide something in return for the service”. To be “appropriate”.

The court document said that SK has estimated that Netflix needs to pay KRW 27.2 billion (about Rs 170 crore) in 2020 alone.

Netflix has appealed against the ruling, with new proceedings set to begin in late December, court records showed.

Netflix said in a statement on Wednesday that it has contributed to the creation of about 16,000 jobs in South Korea, stemming from KRW 770 billion (approximately Rs 4,840 crore) in investments, as well as KRW 5.6 trillion (approximately Rs 35,200 crore). Ten million).

Ruling party lawmaker Kim Sang-hee said on Wednesday that of South Korea’s top 10 data traffic generators, 78.5 percent of traffic came from foreign content providers, up from 73.1 percent a year ago, including “Google-YouTube and Netflix.” , who are responsible for it. Most people turn a blind eye to network usage charges”.

In the United States, Netflix has been paying broadband provider Comcast a fee for more than seven years for faster streaming speeds.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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