As more “shelter in place” orders are issued to flatten the curve of coronavirus there is an increasing strain on Internet Service Providers (ISPs). With streaming giant Netflix seeing surging use during these times, the company is working to reduce its traffic by 25% to provide relief to ISPs relief.
This is not the first time Netflix will take measures to minimize the load on ISPs. It has been working to reduce traffic in some of the hardest-hit regions including Italy and Spain. These efforts are simply expanding to the rest of Europe now.
How Will Netflix Reduce Traffic?
To ease the burden on the Internet in Europe, Netflix is removing the highest bandwidth streams in each resolution category. So far, these measures are only being applied throughout Europe and will be for the next 30 days. This means that for the time being European users may notice their video quality decrease slightly. These measures will not be taken in other markets “until and unless they experience issues of their own.”
Netflix has also stated that they are reducing bit rates across their streams in Europe. This will effectively result in a 25% cut in the traffic on its European network. Cutting this traffic is essential to ensure that the Internet continues to function smoothly during this crisis. Partners in other markets, such as Latin America, want similar measures taken. However, others want business to continue as usual.
Netflix’s efforts come in response to calls to cut picture quality from Thierry Brenton, EU industry chief, to prevent overload. Other companies, such as YouTube and Amazon have taken similar measures. Additionally, Disney+, which was scheduled to launch in most European markets on March 24, has been delayed in France by 2 weeks as requested by the French government.
These measures are necessary as there is a surge in online traffic as more and more people are staying at home, either out of precaution or mandate, during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.