South Korea Gives Mobile Operators Permission To Ignore Net Neutrality By Surcharging Or Blocking VOIP Services

from the what's-in-it-for-the-customers? dept

Net neutrality arguments are often couched in rather theoretical terms, and many people can't really see what all the fuss is about. A recent decision in South Korea gives a handy example of what the loss of net neutrality means in practice:

In a move that has critics crying that it is ignoring net neutrality principles, the Korea Communications Commission said last week that it will let three local mobile operators, SK Telecom, KT and LG U+, charge users extra fees for VOIP [voice over IP] applications or block their use entirely.
Among the VOIP services affected is the mobile phone messaging app KakaoTalk, which has a massive following in South Korea:
KakaoTalk has 36 million Korean users and 9.2 million international users. More than half of 50 million Korean cell phone owners use smartphones, according to the Korea Communications Commission.
In other words, thanks to this latest ruling, tens of millions of KakaoTalk users in South Korea will either be forced to pay more, or may even find the service blocked completely. It's hard to see why the South Korean telecom authority decided this kind of tilted playing field was a good idea: the only ones to benefit are the mobile operators who get to attack new entrants that threatened to disrupt their market, while huge numbers of Korean citizens will be worse off as a result. You could hardly hope for a better demonstration of why net neutrality matters, and is not some purely theoretical concern.

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Filed Under: net neutrality, south korea, voip
Companies: kakaotalk

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2012 @ 9:17pm


    The easiest way to deal ablow to that scheme and hard to counter is to make the data use another format.

    Get an IM that uses text and a TTS(Text To Speach) and voila, you have people talking to each other live in no time.

    Or even easier just use a proxy to bypass those filters.

    I routinely have to use TOR to access webpages.
    For some reason, some pages are unreachable, at some point along the way the requests get stuck.

    You think that people searching for "tomato problems" would not have to deal with filters, well no such luck, or maybe it is some problem with my ISP and IPv6 I don't know, what I do know is that some webpages that have zero reasons to have "problems" are hard to reach, if I was paranoid I would think that big tomato companies are trying to censor the internet, I didn't go there yet since I am not even certain that there are powerful interests involved trying to make it hard to find how to grow tomatoes.

    My best guesses to the problem are:

    - IPv6 issue(not likely since it gets stuck in some pages and not others).
    - OS network issue(not likely because then it should affect everything not just some parts of the internet).
    - ISP filter, somewhere along the path.
    - ISP screwing around with DNS requests done to openDNS and GoogleDNS.

    The point being, people are finding themselves in need of better connectivity and those people are making people create layers that they can't control or monitor that easily.

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