SEOUL, May 16 (Korea Bizwire) – Facebook is allegedly in a dispute with SK Broadband over its share of data traffic costs, after the South Korean internet provider rebuffed the social networking giant’s request to provide the free use of a cache server, which helps to speed up access to data.
After sitting together at the negotiating table last December, SK Broadband and Facebook failed to come to an agreement over the use of a cache server, which allows telecom networks to save frequently used content to economize data traffic and increase the speed of service, according to reports from the IT industry released yesterday.
Since then, SK Broadband subscribers on both smartphones and desktop computers have reported latency while using Facebook, inundating SK Broadband’s online customer service center with complaints.
While both parties are attempting to evade direct responsibility, SK Broadband claims Facebook cut off an indirect route that connects it with KT, through which SK broadband subscribers receive Facebook content.
KT is the only telecom provider in South Korea that provides a paid internet exchange point to Facebook, through which subscribers to other major internet providers including LG Uplus and SK Broadband download content from Facebook.
Though it has not been charging Facebook for data usage, SK Broadband refused Facebook’s request for its own cache server last year, in fear of giving the company the upper hand at the negotiation table in the future.
Facebook Korea dismissed the claim while sidestepping the criticism, saying, “We constantly seek collaboration with other business partners to provide a better service to South Korean users.”
As its growing user base gives the largest social network service in the world great leverage, Facebook is also in talks with LG Uplus over establishing a cache server.
One telecom industry expert spoke in support of requests from the likes of Facebook and YouTube, saying that it is more cost effective for South Korean telecom companies to provide cache servers for services that are in high demand.
As special treatment for Facebook could spark indignation among South Korean web companies such as Naver, Kakao and Afreeca TV, network providers in South Korea find themselves in a catch-22 situation.
Hyunsu Yim (email@example.com)