South Korean ISP sues Netflix because Squid Game is just too damn popular – PC Gamer

PC Gamer is supported by its audience. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more
By 04 October 2021
SK Broadband wants Netflix to pay for increased maintenance and network expenses driven by the hit show.
A South Korean internet service provider has filed a lawsuit against Netflix, asking that the company be ordered to pay for costs caused by a surge of traffic driven by the popularity of the series Squid Game.
The dispute began in 2019, when SK Broadband filed a complaint over Netflix’s refusal to pay usage fees with the Korea Communications Commission. The companies failed to reach a settlement, according to a Korea Economic Daily report, leading Netflix to sue SK Broadband in April 2020, seeking a declaration that it was not obligated to pay any extra fees. 
In 2021, June the Seoul Central District Court ruled against Netflix, declaring that it is receiving “a service provided at a cost” and that it is “reasonable” that it should pay something for that service. A specific resolution, however, “needs to be determined by negotiations between the parties involved whether or not some fees will be paid, or whether they enter an agreement in accordance with the principle of freedom of contract.”
Netflix has appealed that ruling, but Reuters reports that SK Broadband has now filed its own lawsuit against Netflix for rising traffic and maintenance costs. Netflix data traffic on its network is 24 times higher now than it was in May 2018, the company said, driven largely by the phenomenal success of shows like Squid Game. SK Broadband estimated that Netflix owed it roughly 27.2 billion won ($23 million) in usage fees for 2020.
The Reuters report says Netflix is the second-highest data traffic generator in South Korea, surpassed only by YouTube. Yet Netflix and YouTube parent Google are the only companies who don’t pay network usage fees—other providers, including Amazon, Apple, and Facebook, all do. Netflix also pays usage fees in other countries, including the US, in order to help ensure priority service.
“We will review the claim that SK Broadband has filed against us,” a Netflix rep told TechCrunch. “In the meantime, we continue to seek open dialogue and explore ways of working with SK Broadband in order to ensure a seamless streaming experience for our shared customers.”
If you haven’t yet hopped aboard the Squid Game train, no matter where you live, we strongly encourage you to do so.
Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.
Sign up to get the best content of the week, and great gaming deals, as picked by the editors.
Thank you for signing up to PC Gamer. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.
PC Gamer is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. Visit our corporate site.
© Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10036.