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Netflix reducing streaming quality to avoid internet overload

'We all have a joint responsibility to take steps to ensure the smooth functioning of the internet.'


Mikael Thalen


Posted on Mar 19, 2020   Updated on Jan 27, 2021, 10:43 pm CST

Netflix will reduce its streaming quality throughout Europe in an effort to protect the internet from being overloaded.

The decision was announced on Thursday following recommendations from EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton.

“We all have a joint responsibility to take steps to ensure the smooth functioning of the internet during the battle against the virus propagation,” Breton said.

In a statement on the matter, the streaming service said that it would reduce the bitrate of videos on the continent for the next 30 days.

“Following the discussions between Commissioner Thierry Breton and Reed Hastings — and given the extraordinary challenges raised by the coronavirus — Netflix has decided to begin reducing bit rates across all our streams in Europe for 30 days,” the company said.

Netflix further added that the action would reduce “traffic on European networks by around 25 percent while also ensuring a good quality service for our members.”

Although users who pay for higher quality streaming on Netflix may notice a difference, other users will likely see no changes.

The move comes as millions of Europeans find themselves stuck at home relying on the internet both for work and entertainment amid the outbreak.

It remains unclear at this time whether similar action will be taken elsewhere given that video constitutes a significant portion of the data transmitted over the internet on a daily basis. It’s also unknown as to whether other major video services such as YouTube will follow suit.


H/T Engadget

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*First Published: Mar 19, 2020, 5:04 pm CDT