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04th Oct 2021

Netflix sued over Squid Game traffic surge

Charlie Herbert

Internet provider in South Korea sues Netflix for Squid Game popularity

The demand to watch the show is putting pressure on South Korean broadband providers

It’s the latest Netflix show that everyone seems to be talking about – and if you’ve managed to avoid Squid Game chatter then you’ve probably not been on the internet in the past fortnight.

Since debuting on September 17, the dystopian Korean ‘battle royale’ series is now up there with the likes of Sex Education, Stranger Things, Bridgerton and Money Heist in the Netflix hall of fame.

Its popularity shows no signs of dropping off either, with the show continuing to top the platform’s charts across the world, and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos recently saying that it will be the platform’s “biggest non-English language show in the world,” and that there is a “very good chance it’s going to be our biggest show ever.”

But it turns out that it may be getting too popular.

Such is the demand to watch the show in South Korea, where the show is set, that broadband providers in the country are claiming that they are being put under too much strain.

Internet service provider SK Broadband has now filed a lawsuit against Netflix because of the surge in traffic caused by the show and the strain it is putting on their service. They are asking that the streaming platform provide financial assistance for internet providers to deal with the increased network traffic and maintenance work.

It comes after a Seoul court ruled that Netflix should “reasonably” give something back to the internet service provider for network usage.

According to Reuters, Netflix is South Korea’s second-largest data traffic-generator after YouTube but the two platforms are the only ones that don’t pay network usage fees, which the likes of Amazon, Apple and Facebook do.

Back in June, the Seoul Central District Court said that SK is seen as offering “a service provided at a cost” and that it is therefore “reasonable” for Netflix to be “obligated to provide something in return for the service.”

SK estimate that the fee Netflix need to pay is about $22.9 million for 2020 alone.

In a statement to CNBC, a Netflix spokesperson said: “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.”

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