Netflix sued by South Korean internet provider after ‘Squid Game’ surge

Netflix has been sued by a South Korean internet provider following a big surge in traffic due to the streaming service’s popularity in the wake of shows such as Squid Game.

The survival drama, which recently debuted on the platform, has proved to be huge with Netflix users over the past few weeks.

However, internet provider SK Broadband is now suing the streamer to pay for costs over increased network usage and maintenance work after a surge in traffic from their content, according to Reuters.

In their claim, SK said that Netflix is South Korea’s second-largest generator of traffic behind YouTube, and that other big firms such as Amazon, Apple and Facebook all pay network usage fees that the top two don’t.

Squid Game
‘Squid Game’ has taken the internet by storm. CREDIT: Netflix

They also allege that the traffic from Netflix on the network jumped 24-fold to 1.2 trillion bits of data between May 2018 and September 2021, in part due to the popularity of shows such as Squid Game.

SK want Netflix to pay for network usage dating back to May 2018, and are estimating that the amount that would need to be paid for 2020 alone would be 27.2billion won (£17million).

In response to the suit, Netflix said in a statement (via MailOnline): “We will review the claim that SK Broadband has filed against us. 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.”

jung ho-yeon squid game
Jung Ho-yeon in ‘Squid Game’. Credit: Netflix

Netflix previously sued SK over whether they had obligation to pay for network usage, and argued that their duty ends with creating content and leaving it accessible. They added that SK’s expenses were incurred while fulfilling its contractual obligations to users, and that delivery is “free of charge as a principle” in the internet world.

However, the Seoul Central District Court ruled against the streaming company, saying that SK is “a service provided at a cost” and that it is “reasonable” for Netflix to pay for network usage.

Netflix has appealed against the ruling, with proceedings due to begin in December.

The company also said last week that it had created 16,000 jobs in South Korea from around 770billion won in investments, alongside an economic effect of around 5.6trillion won.

Meanwhile, last week Ofcom called out Netflix after a real person’s phone number was displayed in Squid Game, with the man in question receiving thousands of calls from fans.

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