Netflix and other streaming platforms are been urged by the European Union to stop showing videos in high definition. This is to prevent the Internet from collapsing under the strain of heavy usage due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Millions of people are working from home and lots of students/children are out of school.
EU officials are worried about the huge strain on Internet bandwidth. Netflix and Google are responsible for nearly 25% of the data transmitted via the internet.
European Commissioner, Thierry Breton, who is in charge of the EU internal market, twitted that he has spoken with Netflix’s CEO, Reed Hastings. Breton, appealed to people and companies to “#SwitchToStandard definition when HD is not necessary”, in order to secure Internet access for all.
Breton said that giving the current situation, streaming platforms, telecom operators and users have to ensure the smooth functioning of the internet.
According to a Netflix spokesperson, Netflix have already adjust the streaming quality to available network capacity. It also uses a special delivery network that keeps its library closer to users as a way of consuming less bandwidth.
Facebook has acknowledged that the effects of the pandemic are stretching it to its limit. CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, said Facebook’s services are facing “big surges” in usage as the Coronavirus forces millions aound the world to stay at home. Zuckerberg described the increase in demand as well beyond the main annual increase usually seen on New Year’s Eve. Voice and video calls on WhatsApp and Facebook messenger are more than double visual levels.
A professor of internet technology, Kin K Leung said, it’s not just extra video streaming that is straining the internet infrastructure. As businesses and schools close down, millions of people study and work from home. Live streaming of classes and video conferencing will increase rapidly. Live streaming is more demanding on the internet than video streaming. Rather than lives a lecture, a recording would have a very low strain on the internet.
People are taking precautions to help fight the pandemic by avoiding unnecessary social contact and practising better hygiene. They should also help by causing little or no strain on the internet.