Netflix Lowers Streaming Quality In Europe To Reduce Bandwidth Strain(Update: YouTube, too)

Working from home delivers a uniquely flexible opportunity, especially if you’ve been locked in the 9 to 5 cycle until recently due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Working from home has fueled increased internet usage around the world, especially in areas massively affected by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Both Xbox and Nintendo went down last night, and Steam has announced a big leap in the number of concurrent users. Netflix has also been negatively impacted by this upsurge in the number of work-from-home folks.

As it turns out, very many people are binge-watching Netflix in Europe. Consequently, the company is rising up to ensure their internet infrastructure is not overwhelmed. The company is reducing bitrates across Europe.

“Netflix has decided to begin reducing bit rates across all our streams in Europe for 30 days,” said Netflix in a statement to EW. The decision follows a meeting between EU Commissioner Thierry Breton and Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings.

In a tweet, Thierry Breton said, “infrastructures might be in strain” advising users to “Switch to Standard definition when HD is not necessary.”

Typically, Netflix uses “adaptive streaming” to ensure their internet bandwidth isn’t strained.

Netflix didn’t dive into the specifics on how much bitrate was to be cut but says the traffic will be cut by 25 percent across all European networks.

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

It’s not clear if the company will apply the same in other parts of the world as well. Globally many people have been advised to work from home.

In Kenya, Safaricom’s FTH subscribers are already enjoying double internet speeds to what they typically pay for, which makes streaming in lower quality undesirable. Everyone wants to utilize their internet speeds fully! But if streaming at 480p or 1080p doesn’t really matter to you, scale down — the internet shouldn’t “die”.

Update 03/02: YouTube has also followed the same course announcing that they will restrict all traffic in the EU to standard definition by default.

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Alvin Wanjala

Alvin Wanjala has been writing about technology for over 2 years. He writes about different topics in the consumer tech space. He loves streaming music, programming, and gaming during downtimes.

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