Netflix and YouTube are both stepping up to help make sure the internet doesn't crash in Europe. Both companies have committed to limiting the streaming quality of content for at least 30 days amidst the growing server demand. Many people are working from home, and more people are streaming video as the coronavirus outbreak has left the country, much like the U.S., in a state of self-isolation with the masses practicing social distancing to help keep the virus in check.
This comes after calls from the European Union for Netflix to switch to standard definition streaming, as opposed to high definition streaming, which uses a lot more bandwidth and, at a time when more people are streaming video, can strain internet providers. Netflix announced that it will limit to SD for the next 30 days, with YouTube following suit. A YouTube spokesperson had this to say in a statement.
"While we have seen only a few usage peaks, we have measures in place to automatically adjust our system to use less network capacity. We are in ongoing conversations with the regulators (including Ofcom), governments and network operators all over Europe, and are making a commitment to temporarily default all traffic in the UK and the EU to Standard Definition."
On any given day, Netflix and Google, largely through YouTube, account for about 25 percent of all internet traffic. So with both companies limiting streaming quality, that should help ease concerns of the internet crashing in Europe, at least for now. A Netflix spokesperson had this to say about it in a statement.
"We estimate that this will reduce Netflix traffic on European networks by around 25% while also ensuring a good quality service for our members."
One key with YouTube usage in Europe is that streams will temporarily default to SD, but users can manually change it to HD, if they so choose. Another key question is, will similar measures be enacted in the U.S. and in other countries as well? And will other streaming services such as Amazon and Hulu follow in these same footsteps? There have also been calls on video game companies should also consider putting measures in place to help limit internet strain, as online gaming is also a significant factor.
Internet demand worldwide is likely to increase as countries put increasingly strict measures in place to fight the spread of COVID-19. California recently issued stay-at-home orders, with other states expected to follow suit. With the masses cooped up at home, streaming services and other online content, such as livestreaming and gaming, are going to provide people with a much-needed escape. If that means having to deal with SD content for a while to keep the internet from crashing entirely, it may well be worth the tradeoff. We'll be sure to keep you posted as the situation develops. This news was previously reported by Deadline.