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S. Korea requires Google, Facebook and 4 others to provide stable online services

It 12:00 January 18, 2021

SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's ICT ministry said Monday it has required global tech giants Google, Facebook and Netflix as well as local rivals Naver, Kakao and Wavve, to comply with the country's new law under which large data-hungry online companies must provide stable services.

Last year, South Korea passed a law revision holding online content service providers accountable if they fail to maintain stable services amid growing complaints against streaming giants Netflix and Google, which operates YouTube, after their services experienced a number of outages.

Under the revised Telecommunications Business Act, large online content providers are also required to report service errors to the Ministry of Science and ICT.

S. Korea requires Google, Facebook and 4 others to provide stable online services - 1

The new rules apply to online companies that account for 1 percent or more of the country's average daily data traffic in the last three months of a year and that have more than 1 million daily users.

The ministry said global tech giants made up a significant portion of the country's daily data traffic in the final three months of 2020, with Google accounting for a whopping 25.9 percent, followed by Netflix at 4.8 percent and Facebook at 3.2 percent.

Among local companies, top portal operator Naver held the top spot at 1.8 percent, followed by rival Kakao at 1.4 percent and video streaming service Wavve at 1.18 percent.

The six companies accounted for a total of 38.3 percent of the country's average daily traffic over the period.

The ICT ministry data also showed that Google's average daily user number over the period stood at 82.3 million, followed by Naver at 57 million, Kakao at 55.2 million, Facebook at 14.3 million, Netflix at 1.7 million and Wavve at 1 million.

The ministry said it has notified the six companies and will finalize the designation by early next month after consultations with the companies.

Google was the first company to come under the new regulation last month when it was required to submit a report to the ICT ministry after its services, including Gmail, YouTube and Google Calendar, went down for around 45 minutes.

If companies fail to meet the new rules, they could face an administrative fine of up to 20 million won (US$18,000).

yunhwanchae@yna.co.kr
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