Facebook inks network usage deal with KT

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Facebook inks network usage deal with KT

Facebook said Tuesday that it inked a network usage deal with KT and Sejong Telecom.

The IT giant has been negotiating with local internet service providers regarding network usage fees amid mounting criticism it is paying significantly less than local tech companies like Naver and Kakao.

Both Facebook and KT declined to comment on the details of the deal, including how much Facebook is paying the carrier.

“We are very happy that we can keep providing consistent service quality to consumers using the Facebook app family via KT networks thanks to the deal,” Facebook said in statement. “With a separate network deal with Sejong Telecom, we can provide improved service to our local users.”

Sejong Telecom is a small internet service provider with its own landline infrastructure.

“We will do our best to offer the best quality services to our users through efforts including partnering with local internet service providers,” the tech giant added in a statement.

With SK Broadband having already inked a deal on network fees with Facebook earlier this year, LG U+ is now the only one of Korea’s three largest internet service providers that has not signed a deal with Facebook.

The latest deal could have an effect on the ongoing legal dispute between Facebook and telecommunications industry regulator Korea Communications Commission (KCC).

KCC fined Facebook last year, arguing the company intentionally slowed down user access to Facebook apps by re-routing non-KT users to the company’s servers in Hong Kong and the United States instead of KT’s cache server, damaging consumer benefits. Industry insiders had speculated that such action by Facebook was intended to give it the upper hand in network fee negotiations with telecoms companies.

Facebook had been paying KT for access to a cache server, used to save internet content locally to speed up access to data. SK Broadband and LG U+ subscribers were automatically diverted to KT’s cache server.

The government changed Korea’s network-sharing regulations in 2016, and this caused internet service providers to carry a larger cost burden in sharing networks, creating conflict between carriers and Facebook.

BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]
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