Netflix will cut streaming quality of its service in Europe for next 30 days to reduce strain on net during coronavirus crisis
- Netflix will reduce the quality of its streaming services over the next 30 days
- The EU today discouraged online media platforms from streaming movies in HD
- Web giants have increasingly supplied film lovers with HD footage of favourites
- But the EU warned the huge file sizes are slowing web as users work from home
- Regulators set up mechanism to monitor internet traffic amid coronavirus crisis
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Netflix will be cutting down the quality of its streaming services in Europe in an effort to relieve the pressure put on internet providers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The move, which will include the UK, will see the company reduce the quality of its pictures by 25 per cent over the next 30 days to help ease the strain on providers who have seen a surge in the number of customers streaming online since the outbreak.
It comes after the European Union today urged online media platforms to stream movies and entertainment in standard rather than high definition.
A Netflix spokesperson said: ‘Following the discussions between Commissioner Thierry Breton and Reed Hastings – and given the extraordinary challenges raised by the coronavirus – Netflix has decided to begin reducing bit rates across all our streams in Europe for 30 days.
Netflix will help relieve the pressure put on internet providers amid the COVID-19 pandemic by reducing its streaming quality. (Stock images)
The move will see the company reduce the quality of its pictures by 25 per cent over the next 30 days. (Stock images)
‘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.’
Commissioner Thierry Breton added: ‘Social distancing measures to fight the Coronavirus lead to increased demand for Internet capacity be it for teleworking, e-learning or entertainment purposes.
‘I welcome the very prompt action that Netflix has taken to preserve the smooth functioning of the Internet during the COVID19 crisis while maintaining a good experience for users.
‘Mr Hastings has demonstrated a strong sense of responsibility and solidarity. We’ll keep closely in touch to follow the evolution of the situation together.’
As online speeds have increased and screen resolution has improved, web giants like Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, HBO and Amazon have increasingly supplied film lovers with high definition footage of their favourites.
But Thierry Breton, the EU commissioner for the internal market and digital economy, warned the huge file sizes of such broadcasts are slowing the web just as many users are forced to work online from home.
After holding talks with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Breton said: ‘Europe and the whole world are facing an unprecedented situation.
‘Governments have taken measures to reduce social interactions to contain the spread of COVID-19, and to encourage remote working and online education.’
‘Streaming platforms, telecom operators and users, we all have a joint responsibility to take steps to ensure the smooth functioning of the Internet during the battle against the virus propagation.’
Thierry Breton, pictured, warned the huge file sizes of such HD media broadcasts are slowing the web just as many users are forced to work online from home
Breton’s office announced that EU regulators had set up a reporting mechanism to monitor internet traffic and react quickly if over-use threatens communications and the economy in Europe.
It follows the announcement all schools in England will close on Friday along with those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as coronavirus continues to wreak havoc in the UK.
Boris Johnson revealed the bombshell move this evening and said that when school gates shut at the end of the week they will not reopen for the foreseeable future.
However, a skeleton operation will be kept in place across the country so that the children of key workers – including NHS staff, police officers and supermarket delivery drivers – can be looked after and enable their parents to continue to work.