With a large number of people in Europe being quarantined and having to work from home in response to the Coronavirus outbreak, the European Union (EU) has requested major streaming services and social media companies to reduce their streaming quality to prevent internet gridlock. These companies include Netflix, Amazon Prime, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
The internet infrastructure of the EU, and most of the world for that matter, was simply not designed to handle the extra traffic and strain that is currently being experienced with the increased number of people at home. More and more people are using internet services to continue their office work, to connect with their loved ones over video or to simply tackle boredom. This has induced a massive strain on the EU network infrastructure.
In response to the EU’s request, companies are making changes to their streaming quality, bitrates and more. YouTube, for example, is making Standard Definition (480p) as the default for all users. Amazon Prime and Netflix will continue to stream at same resolutions and quality but with a much lower bitrate, with Netflix completely removing its highest bandwidth streams, and reducing quality by 25%. Facebook and Instagram too have committed to temporarily reduce their video bit rates in Europe to stay within bandwidth constraints.