SEOUL: A South Korean ministerial candidate said on Tuesday he would try to avoid problems stemming from a legislative push to force global content providers such as Netflix and Alphabet’s Google to pay local network fees.
Lee Jong-ho, appointed minister of information and communication science and technology, however, did not specify what exactly he would do or whether he would prevent companies from being charged for using the network. arising from their services.
Lawmakers have introduced legislation, which is still at an early stage, that would impose “a fair price” on companies.
“Global companies do not pay network usage fees,” lawmaker Jun Hye-sook said during a parliamentary hearing on Tuesday. “Local businesses pay fees despite only generating a fraction of the traffic that global businesses generate.”
Netflix is taking legal action against local internet service provider (ISP) SK Broadband, which is already trying to collect these fees. On Tuesday, Netflix referred Reuters to comments it made in March, when it said it would continue to provide its services during the litigation.
Google had no immediate comment, but its YouTube unit said last month that the bill would give ISPs double payment: once from customers and a second time from video platform companies. . YouTube would incur “huge” costs and the Korean creative community would be affected, he said.
Lee was cautious in his statements during the parliamentary hearing. He will look into the matter thoroughly, he said, adding that he would try to avoid any issues arising over it.
According to government figures, Google generates 27.1% of South Korea’s total internet traffic, Netflix 7.2%, Meta Platforms 3.5% and South Korea’s main portal operator, Naver, only 2.1 %.
Naver and other local content providers pay fees, SK Broadband said, though it didn’t say how much.
The Seoul High Court will hold the next hearing of an appeal by Netflix in the case with SK Broadband this month, according to court records. A lower court ruled last year that Netflix should “reasonably” give something in return for using the network.