S.Korea broadband firm sues Netflix after traffic surge

Geoff Huston gih at apnic.net
Sun Oct 10 20:10:45 UTC 2021

> On 11 Oct 2021, at 6:33 am, Matthew Petach <mpetach at netflight.com> wrote:
> […] Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon all caved to SK's demands:
> I will note that my $previous_employer was a top-10 web content provider 
> that did *not* pay SK Broadband.  Not all the content providers caved 
> to SKB.

The situation in South Korea between content providers and broadband providers has a long history. Back in early 2012 Korea Telecom implemented a block on Samsung’s “smart TV” models because they had a streaming high def content service that KT claimed that was saturating their broadband network. According to KT, Samsung opted to take a "very negative response" to KT's actions. Samsung obtained a court injunction to lift KT's block on their TVs and an associated court order for KT and Samsung to enter into arbitration. At the same time Samsung filed a lawsuit against KT. In due course the temperature of the dispute abated and all the parties backed down. KT discontinued its block, and Samsung dropped its lawsuit. However, there was evidently some residual bad feeling here as Samsung expressed their desire for the national regulator to convey a "strict warning" to KT over its actions.

You have to wonder if the major difference some nine years later is that while Samsung is a Korean business, Netflix is a ‘foreign’ entity, and perhaps the broadband ISPs feel that the Korean legal actions in this round will have a different outcome and favour the local ISP enterprises over the foreign streamer.

I have to agree with Doug Barton's earlier observation is that the base problem is that the ISPs are using a flawed business model and they don't want to charge their customers what it really costs to provide them with high speed access, nor do they want to fund additional back-end capacity in their network without some form of offset revenue stream.


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