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COVID-19: YouTube and Netflix Lower Bandwidth Streams To Cope With Demand

Both YouTube and Netflix have begun reducing the bandwidth streams of their videos to ease pressure on telecoms networks, given the unprecedented demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Netflix first developed, tested and successfully deployed a way to reduce its traffic on networks in Italy and Spain by 25%. Netflix will begin to implement this in Australia late tonight.

“We believe that this will provide significant relief to congested networks and will be deploying it in Australia for the next 30 days,” Ken Florance, VP of Content Delivery at Neflix, said.

Netflix emphasised that they typically provide many different streams for titles within each resolution. “We’ve simply removed the highest bandwidth streams. So whether you paid for Ultra-High Definition, High Definition, or Standard Definition, that’s the quality you should continue to get,” Netflix said.

According to Bloomberg, YouTube will begin to lower video quality around the world from Tuesday. This will be an extension of what the company has already instituted in Europe, upon the request of EU authorities.

YouTube has said that users will still be able to watch in high definition, but they will have to specifically select this option.

“We continue to work closely with governments and network operators around the globe to do our part to minimise stress on the system during this unprecedented situation,” Google said in a statement to Bloomberg.

Amazon Prime Video is carrying out similar actions in Australia and worldwide as well.

“Prime Video is working with local authorities, Mobile Service Providers and Internet Service Providers where needed to help mitigate any network congestion, including in Australia where we’ve already begun the effort to reduce streaming bitrates whilst maintaining a quality streaming experience,” an Amazon Prime Video Spokesperson told ChannelNews.


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