Twitch downgrading video stream quality in Korea in protest to network usage fee hike
“Twitch has faithfully paid networks fees and other related bills, but the cost for Twitch service in Korea is continuously rising. We need a new solution for operation,” the company said on its Korean blog.
The Korean government has proposed to mandate overseas platform operators such as Netflix and Google to pay network usage fees. Seven related bills are currently pending in the National Assembly.
Domestic wireless carriers agree on the need of the new law, saying Google and Netflix are free-riding on Korean networks while commanding substantial traffic without fair payment.
Content companies also are calling for the legislation, complaining about the discriminative policy for domestic firms, compared to foreign platforms. They argue Korean content firms are in charge of much smaller traffic than Google and Netflix but have to pay extra costs for network usage worth millions of dollars every year.
Global platform operators are fiercely raising opposition to the legislative move with lawsuits and other methods. They emphasize their contribution in Korea or warn of possible damage, unfavorable policy to Korean users.
Netflix has been in a years-long legal dispute with SK Broadband over network usage fees.
Google voiced opposition to the new legislation as well, with the posting on its Korean blog written by Gautam Anand, the executive vice president of Asia Pacific at YouTube.
He emphasized YouTube’s contribution to growth of the Korean economy and culture as well as job addition while expressing concerns about a possible cancellation of investment in Korean content creators if the bill passes the National Assembly.
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