Facebook Korea vice president Park Dae-sung said on Aug. 27 that the South Korean government’s interconnection standards on telecommunications equipment and facilities have created an environment in which data transmitters’ costs cannot but increase and content providers’ burden will be shifted to users in the end in the environment.
The South Korean government revised the standards in 2016 in order to repeal the principle of no network fee payment between mobile carriers, compel data transmitters to bear costs as well, and introduce usage-based network fee calculation. Content providers are claiming that their network fee burden cannot but increase with data usage on the rise.
The vice president also pointed out that the ongoing litigation between Facebook and the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) was triggered by none other than the interconnection standards. After the revision of the standards, KT, which provided Facebook traffic for SK Broadband, SK Telecom and LG U+ via cache servers, had to pay more to the mobile carriers and KT demanded that Facebook pay more cache server cost. During the course, Facebook caused non-KT users to connect via overseas servers instead of opting to bear the cost.
As a result, some users experienced inconvenience in connecting to Facebook. Later, the KCC imposed a fine of 396 million won on Facebook last year, saying that it caused the inconvenience on purpose. Facebook filed a lawsuit, claiming that the inconvenience was unpredictable, and recently won the first trial.
The vice president expressed a negative view on the KCC’s guidelines in the making for network fee discrimination elimination between local and foreign content providers. “Contracts between content providers and mobile carriers are matters in the private sector and, as such, government regulations are not desirable,” he said, adding, “Facebook is neither a subject nor an object of reverse discrimination.”