Korea ISP wants streaming services to pay up

KT says it has no desire to continue to accommodate "free riding" streaming services. The company will focus on Internet-enabled TVs first, then services like YouTube.

Data-heavy services like YouTube are apparently costing a South Korean Internet Service Provider serious money, and the ISP doesn't want to take it any longer.

Speaking to Reuters in an interview published last night, Kim Taehwan, vice president of KT, Korea's largest ISP, said that his company is tired of "free riding" Internet streaming services that consume huge amounts of data and don't pay it a dime to do so.

"We want to set a rule that we can equally apply to every platform operator that offers data-heavy content as those services threaten to black out our network," Taehwan told Reuters. "They should pay for using our network."

Taehwan proposed an option in which companies could share a portion of their advertising revenue with KT. The ISP would also be open to establishing network-usage fees.

KT is first focusing its efforts on Internet-enabled TVs that allow users to stream programming over the Web. Once deals are struck, KT hopes to extend such arrangements with "data-heavy services such as YouTube."

Earlier this month, according to Reuters, KT blocked access to applications available on Samsung's Internet-enabled televisions that consume large amounts of data. But Samsung might not be the only TV maker in KT's crosshairs. Panasonic, LG, Vizio, and countless other TV makers are offering Web-enabled televisions, realizing that giving Internet access to consumers in the living room is an important step in continuing to attract them to their sets.

Battles between heavy data users and service providers is nothing new for American companies. Last year, Netflix, which consumes a large amount of data, butted heads with ISPs over the costs its streaming service carries with it. ISPs argue that Netflix should pay those costs--something Netflix flatly rejects.

"We think the cost sharing between Internet video suppliers and ISPs should be that we have to haul the bits to the various regional front doors that the ISPs operate," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said last year.

 

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