Earlier this week, the European Union approached streaming service Netflix among other platforms to request they restrict users from streaming in high-definition top help ease the bandwidth strain and congestion during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. While the infrastructure in most of the country is currently handling the mass amount of users working from home and practising self-isolation, this was a precaution the European Union wanted to take to prevent any issues.

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According to Thierry Breton, who stressed the importance of telecom operators and streaming services taking necessary action to reduce congestion, the reduction of quality will help the country with “smooth functioning of the internet during the battle against the Coronavisur (COVID-19) virus propagation.”

Netflix has since agreed to take actions to reduce its streaming quality.  The streaming platform announced that it would be reducing the bandwidth for the next 30 days in Europe.

“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. We estimate that this will reduce Netflix traffic on European networks by around 25% while also ensuring a good quality service for our members.”

Netflix has not announced yet if they plan on doing the same for other markets including South Africa but we will have to monitor the internet congestion in the country and take action if trouble arises. Reducing bandwidth by 25% could have a substantial impact on internet congestion in Europe as Netflix can use about 1 gigabyte of data per hour for a standard-definition film and 3 gigabytes an hour for an HD film. Not to mention the streaming service’s UHD content which uses even more. We will keep you updated on the local situation if we hear anything.

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