Netflix could be facing a bill for nearly $23 million if a South Korean internet service provider (ISP) gets its way, and new TV series Squid Game is at least partly to blame.
As Reuters reports, ISP SK Broadband has sued Netflix because of the traffic load the streaming service increasingly places on its network. SK believes Netflix should pay for network usage, which has apparently increase 24-fold since 2018. Netflix is now the second-largest data traffic generator in the country behind YouTube.
Survival drama Squid Game is the show that seems to have finally triggered the lawsuit due to its popularity in South Korea. Netflix has said it wants to “seek dialogue” with SK after reviewing the claims made in the lawsuit. However, it seems more likely than not the streaming service will end up being asked to pay due to a previous case combined with the behavior of other content providers.
In 2020, Netflix wanted clarity over its obligations to SK for network usage, so brought its own lawsuit. The argument presented was that Netflix’s business is to create the content and make it accessible, while SK’s business is to deliver it to its customers and both companies charge for their independent services. However, the Seoul Central District Court ruled against Netflix, deciding that the streaming service is “obligated to provide something in return for the service.” Netflix is appealing the decision.
If Netflix loses the case, it could be facing a yearly payment to SK Broadband for continued use of its network. That, in turn, may result in Netflix customer in South Korea seeing the price of the service increase. What also doesn’t help Netflix’s cause or case, and as SK has pointed out, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook apparently to pay network usage fees.