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Netflix, Facebook to slow down streaming to cope with Europe outbreak

The measures are taking place in Europe at the moment. Other companies cutting on bandwidth include YouTube, Amazon and Disney.

Netflix, Facebook to slow down streaming to cope with Europe outbreak

FILE PHOTO: Netflix logo is seen in front of diplayed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in this illustration taken March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

As governments across the world enforce social distancing amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Netflix has emerged as the go-to pastime for quarantined and self-isolating people everywhere.

But with many people wanting to explore fictional worlds instead of the real one, Netflix and other video streaming services have had to cut bandwidth in Europe to manage the increased demand.

According to a report by Entertainment Weekly, European Commissioner Thierry Breton spoke to Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings about the issue, with the intent to encourage people and companies to use standard definition instead of high definition. 

The move would allow bandwidth in Europe to remain smooth for those who require an Internet connection amid the virus outbreak.

Hastings was on board with the decision, and in a statement obtained by Entertainment Weekly and published on Mar 20, Netflix announced that the company would be reducing bit rates across all streams in Europe for 30 days.

“We estimate that this will reduce Netflix traffic on European networks by around 25 per cent while also ensuring a good quality service for our members,” it added.

Netflix isn’t the only implementing this measure. According to Reuters, Facebook will also be downgrading its video streaming quality, which will extend to Instagram as well.

Other companies who have announced bandwidth-cutting in response to the outbreak include YouTube, Amazon and Disney.

Like Netflix, YouTube will be cutting their picture quality for 30 days, while Disney’s streaming service Disney+ said it would lower its overall bandwidth utilisation by at least 25 per cent in all of the European countries launching Disney+ next week.

Source: CNA/mm