SK Broadband, a major South Korean internet service provider, announced that it will be ending its yearslong legal dispute with streaming giant Netflix over network usage fees. The decision came as a result of both parties agreeing to withdraw their disputes in the interest of the success of both companies and prioritizing customer value.
The legal battle between SK Broadband and Netflix began nearly three years ago when the ISP requested that Netflix pay network usage fees for using its network. SK Broadband accused Netflix of “free-riding” on its infrastructure, while Netflix defended its position citing net neutrality principles.
The dispute gained global attention and raised questions about who should be responsible for maintaining network quality. SK Broadband claimed that the amount of traffic generated Netflix had increased significantly over the years, while Netflix argued that it should not be obligated to pay network usage fees.
In June 2021, the Seoul Central District Court ruled in favor of SK Broadband, stating that it was reasonable for Netflix to provide something in return for the service. However, Netflix appealed the decision, expressing concerns about the potential impact on the global internet ecosystem.
Industry sources and market watchers saw the end of the legal battle as somewhat expected, considering the extended duration of the lawsuit. Fatigue on both sides likely played a role in the decision to reach an agreement. However, some industry insiders expressed disappointment that a clear legal conclusion was not reached.
Despite their past disputes, SK Broadband, SK Telecom, and Netflix have now formed a strategic partnership to enhance services for users. They plan to develop new services that allow SK Telecom and SK Broadband users to access Netflix on their smartphones and TV platforms. Subscription packages similar to Netflix’s ad-supported membership will also be introduced. Additionally, the companies intend to collaborate on technology advancements to enhance user experience through the use of artificial intelligence technologies.
The partnership between SK Broadband and Netflix signifies a shift from conflict to cooperation, aiming to provide a better media service environment and prioritize customer value. Both companies view this alliance as an opportunity to deliver a convenient content-watching experience to users in Korea.
– The Korea Herald