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Netflix appeals ruling on network fees in Seoul

By
Kim Yi-hyun & Kim Tae-gyu, UPI News Korea
Netflix has argued under the principle of net neutrality that Internet service providers should give access to all sites and content at the same speed, without fees. File Photo by Christian Monterrosa/EPA-EFE
Netflix has argued under the principle of net neutrality that Internet service providers should give access to all sites and content at the same speed, without fees. File Photo by Christian Monterrosa/EPA-EFE

SEOUL, July 19 (UPI) -- Streaming giant Netflix said it has appealed a recent court decision forcing it to pay network usage fees to a South Korean telecom company.

The Seoul Central District Court ruled against Netflix Korea last month in its protracted battle with SK Broadband, an Internet service provider and affiliate of the country's top mobile carrier SK Telecom.

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The court refused to accept Netflix's requests to confirm that the over-the-top platform does not have to pay network usage fees to SK Broadband.

"The June 25 verdict denies the roles that a content provider and an Internet service provider each has," Netflix said in a statement. "It shifts the responsibility of the latter to the former.

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"The ruling is feared to demolish the Internet ecosystem. There has been no case where a government or court made content providers pay fees for using a network," it said.

Since the legal battle began in April 2020, Netflix has argued under the principle of net neutrality that Internet service providers should give access to all sites and content at the same speed, without fees.

SK Broadband countered that whoever uses its network should pay for the services.

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"If Netflix dismisses the court ruling, which acknowledges the responsibility to compensate for network use, that means that the company denies our basic business model," an SK Broadband official told UPI News Korea.

"Netflix is also misleading people as if all global content providers must pay network usage fees to SK Broadband," he said. "The verdict says those who use dedicated lines like Netflix should pay fees."

SK Broadband said that South Korea's major Internet portals, like Naver and Kakao, pay network usage fees.

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Netflix claimed 4.8 percent of the country's total network traffic during the final quarter of 2020, following Google with 25.9 percent, according to the Korean government. Naver and Kakao chased them with 1.8 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

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