With people locked inside their homes due to the COVID-19 outbreak, there’s a threat on the internet bandwidth being pushed to the limit. The coronavirus pandemic has, in turn, forced Netflix, YouTube and Amazon to reduce its online video streaming quality.
The recent outbreak of the coronavirus has impacted all spheres of life. Everything has come to a standstill. With people locked inside their homes, surfing the internet, working from home and Netflix and chillin’ – there’s now a serious threat of the internet bandwidth being pushed to the limit. As a result, the COVID-19 has led to a massive surge in internet bandwidth usage. In a bid to tackle this issue, popular online video streaming platforms Netflix, YouTube and Amazon have obliged to reduce their video streaming quality. This is an effort to keep the internet connectivity robust and reduce the strain on the internet infrastructure.
Highlights! Coronavirus forces popular online streaming platforms to reduce their video quality.
- EU had urged Netflix to lower the quality of its video streaming.
- YouTube and Amazon have also joined the cause.
- Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed that Facebook’s services are experiencing a big surge following the coronavirus outbreak.
Netflix and YouTube oblige to the EU’s request
The European Union (EU) had earlier asked Netflix to lower the quality of its video streaming from high definition (HD) to standard definition (SD). In response to this, Netflix decided to reduce its bit rate across Europe for at least a month.
“We estimate that this will reduce Netflix traffic on European networks by around 25% while also ensuring a good quality service for our members.” – A Netflix spokesperson about reducing its video quality
Soon YouTube also followed the suit and announced that all of its streams will be in SD by default.
“We will continue working with member state governments and network operators to minimize stress on the system, while also delivering a good user experience.” – A spokesperson of Google, which owns YouTube
Switching to SD streaming
European Commissioner Thierry Breton believes that during this unrivalled situation, all streaming platforms, telecom operators and the users “all have a joint responsibility to take steps to ensure the smooth functioning of the internet during the battle against the coronavirus propagation.” Various telecom operators have said that they are in support of the decision to switch to SD streaming.
The Commission has said that though there has been a sharp rise in the internet usage, no adverse effects have been observed so far. Further, EU officials will set up a special reporting mechanism to monitor internet traffic in Europe.
Amazon joining the cause
A new member joining this cause is Amazon. An Amazon spokesperson has confirmed that the online platform has also started reducing streaming bit rates on its Prime Video services. Amazon is further working with the authorities to reduce network congestion.
In addition to this, Facebook has also acknowledged that coronavirus pandemic is stretching it to the limit. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that Facebook’s services are facing “big surges” in usage because of more people forced to be locked down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Voice and video calls on WhatsApp and Facebook messenger have doubled.
As of now, the decision of lowering the video quality by Netflix, YouTube and Amazon due to coronavirus is applicable only in Europe. However, with the continuous surge in the cases of coronavirus, it won’t be long before the move spreads to other countries as well. It’s necessary that everyone gets a bit more conscious about the internet usage and demand at this stage.