Video streaming service Netflix has just announced that it is slowing down its service in Europe. To be clear, the company will be reducing the streaming quality in Europe for the next 30 days. As part of the reduction, the company will decrease the bit rate of all its video streams. The company decided on making this change to ensure that the internet remains stable as most people work from home. For some context, an increasing number of users have started working from home to stop the spread of coronavirus. Let’s have a closer look at the situation.

Netflix to decrease its quality; details

According to a report from CNN Business, the reduced bit rate will decrease the bandwidth. The report went into detail about the reason behind this move. Inspecting this decision, Netflix will reduce its bandwidth and in extension, traffic by 25 percent. This will ensure that the rest of the services have enough bandwidth to function properly. It will ensure that other services don’t cripple during the coronavirus lockdown across the continent. This announcement came right after EU officials asked Netflix and its users to not use HD video streaming. The officials made this request out of concern for the increased strain on the Internet infrastructure. European Commissioner Thierry Breton had a conversation with CEO Reed Hastings regarding the situation.

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Breton stated that the users, telecom operators, and streaming platforms, all have the responsibility of ensuring the stability of the internet. He also appreciated the prompt action on part of Netflix. The interesting thing to note here is that a reduced bit rate will ensure that users can watch content in HD. However, the total data consumed will be less with decreased bandwidth requirements. The company confirmed that “some users” may “see a reduction in perceptible video quality”.

EU is currently working on special reporting mechanisms to monitor stress on the internet infrastructure. In addition, telecom operators revealed that they support the request to switch to standard definition streaming. Most telecom operators issued statements confirming that they are prepared for an increase in data consumption. Though, the increased usage has indeed created pressure. This comes right after Facebook confirmed that coronavirus pandemic is pushing things to the limit. CEO Mark Zuckerberg also highlighted “big surges” in use that are “well beyond” what the social network observes.

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