Recently, the European Union (EU) has requested major streaming services and social media companies to downgrade their video quality to help avert internet gridlock as tens of millions of Europeans are being quarantined and working from home due to coronavirus outbreak.
EU industry chief Thierry Breton has urged streaming platforms including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, to free up bandwidth for healthcare and students who are distance learning as well.
It’s worth mentioning that the Internet infrastructure of the EU and across the globe are not designed to handle the high-traffic that is currently being experienced.
In response to the EU’s request, companies are making changes to their streaming quality, bitrate, and more. YouTube is planning to make SD (480p) as default for all the users.
In the official blog, Netflix mentioned:
“We immediately developed, tested, and deployed a way to reduce Netflix’s traffic on these networks by 25% – starting with Italy and Spain, which were experiencing the biggest impact. Within 48 hours, we’d hit that goal, and we’re now deploying this across the rest of Europe and the UK.”
Moreover, the telcos in the region have reported a significant increase in traffic as the EU Member States have instructed the citizens to stay at home.
Kevin Mayer, chairman of Disney’s direct-to-consumer division, in a statement,
We will be monitoring Internet congestion and working closely with Internet service providers to further reduce bitrates as necessary to ensure they are not overwhelmed by consumer demand.
Desperate time calls for desperate measures! At a personal level, as customers, we do have a responsibility when it comes to streaming service usage. However, it is unclear whether other OTTs will give customers the option to override the limitations manually.
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