Business watchdog to investigate Telkom’s block of Netflix for possible fair business practices breach

Screen grab showing Netflix’s Bahasa Indonesia user interface.
Screen grab showing Netflix’s Bahasa Indonesia user interface.

Since Netflix became available in Indonesia in 2016, the video streaming platform has remained unavailable to a large number of Indonesians — specifically, customers of state-owned telco Telkom who subscribe to its home internet service Indihome, mobile internet service Telkomsel, or its public Wi-Fi service Wifi.id. While Telkom said that the block was based on censorship grounds, many suspected that it was only trying to protect its own business interests through affiliated streaming platforms.

The suspicion may soon result in an official investigation by the Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU), who this week indicated that they would follow up on an online petition demanding that Telkom open access to Netflix with an investigation for possible breach of Law no. 5/1999 on Monopolies and Unfair Business Competition.

“We will continue to evaluate our findings. But based on the law [Telkom] shouldn’t have blocked [Netflix],” KPPU spokesperson Guntur Saragih told CNN Indonesia yesterday.

There have been reports from Telkom customers saying that they have been able to access Netflix since the start of the year. However, Telkom never publicly announced an unblocking and the access seems to be limited to Indihome users and only through Netflix’s mobile app, as reported by Kompas.

“Even if Indihome has opened access to Netflix, KPPU will still investigate for a possible breach,” Guntur said.

Among the aspects of KPPU’s investigation will be whether or not Telkom blocked Netflix to protect its own business affiliations with Hooq (through Telkomsel) and iflix (through Indihome).

Netflix, which in October of last year launched a full Bahasa Indonesia interface and more Indonesian subtitles to attract more subscribers from the archipelago, is available on every other ISP in Indonesia. The streaming service has partnered up to provide data deals with other operators including XL Axiata, Bolt, Hutchison 3 Indonesia, and Smartfren.


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