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SK Broadband, Netflix agree to end 'net usage fee' battle

11:00 September 18, 2023

SEOUL, Sept. 18 (Yonhap) -- SK Broadband Co., a major South Korean internet service provider, said Monday that it will end the yearslong legal battle with Netflix over network usage fees.

"We agreed to end all disputes and work together as partners for the future," the company said in a statement, without elaborating on details of the agreement.

SK Broadband and Netflix have been in a legal dispute for years over network usage fees.

SK Broadband has claimed Netflix has been free-riding, refusing to pay for the use of the network despite a huge traffic overload caused by its streaming service.

It has said Netflix's traffic on its network exploded to 1,200 gigabits per second (Gbps) in September 2021 from 50 Gbps in May 2018 amid the popularity of "Squid Game" and other Korean-language drama series.

But Netflix has argued that it is a double charge for SK Broadband to demand internet access fees because users are paying fees.

In June 2021, a local court ruled in favor of the Korean company, saying that it is "reasonable" for Netflix to provide something in return for the service. Netflix appealed against the decision and the lawsuit has been pending.

This image from Yonhap News TV shows a legal battle between SK Broadband and Netflix over network usage fees. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Meanwhile, as a follow-up to the agreement, SK Broadband, its telecommunications affiliate SK Telecom Co. and Netflix signed a strategic partnership to join hands in strengthening customer service, according to SK Broadband.

SK Broadband and SK Telecom will come up with new services to provide access to Netflix on their pay TV platform or smartphones starting the first half of next year.



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