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South Korean KT Corp blocks internet access for Samsung Smart TVs

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KT Corporation, South Korea's largest telecom provider, blocked network access for Samsung smart TVs after the manufacturer refused to subsidize network access. The move has drawn criticism from government.

Samsung YouTube on TV
Samsung YouTube on TV

Smart TVs were one of the big trends at CES this year, but all those apps and streaming videos can take up quite a bit of bandwith. That's what South Korea's largest broadband provider, KT, is arguing, as it acts quickly to throttle the bandwidth of connected sets. After threatening the move on Thursday, KT has now began blocking their high-speed internet subscribers from using internet services on Samsung smart TVs. KT claimed that high adoption rates of smart TVs could cause network speeds to become 265 times slower, and it urged TV makers to pay for the cost of network use. Not surprisingly, Samsung wasn't interested in subsidizing KT's network, saying in a statement that:

KT’s decision goes against the principle of network neutrality, under which consumers can use services without discrimination. Moreover, we need to verify whether smart TVs actually cause excessive data traffic.

KT's actions seem to have attracted the ire of the Korea Communications Commission. The government organization called the actions "inappropriate" and plans to take some sort of action if KT continues blocking access for smart TVs. South Korea's broadband network is largely considered the most developed in the world, but this goes to show that even the fastest and cheapest internet around can't escape net neutrality debates.