EU asks Streaming Services to Relieve Pressure on the Internet During the Corona Crisis

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Thierry Breton, the EU commissioner for the internal market and digital economy, asked streaming services to consider streaming their content at a lower quality. The commissioner posed this question in a meeting that took place Wednesday evening. The request was made to keep the internet working smoothly for all users. Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime have decided to meet the request and lower the quality of their streams.

Strain on Internet Speed

Governments have asked their people to distance themselves from others to slow down the spread of the Coronavirus. Many people are working form home at the moment because of the virus. This means that work meetings and social interactions need to happen in a different way. Therefore many people turn to video calling their colleagues, friends, and relatives. Schools are also trying to teach online. All of this extra use of the internet puts a strain on it’s speed. On top of this there are many people home alone who cannot work at this time. A lot of them turn to different streaming services like Netflix and YouTube to entertain themselves.

Avoid Congestion

Breton has called for teamwork in this time of crisis. “Streaming platforms, telecom operators and users, we all have joint responsibility to take steps to ensure the smooth functioning of the internet,” he said. He requested that video quality would automatically be downgraded to standard definition during peak hours. The usual high definition would cause internet congestion. Also, the commissioner asked on twitter that users of streaming services “#SwitchToStandard definition when HD is not necessary”. This request was made after some European telecom providers have already reported connectivity problems.

Keeping Your Internet Connected

So, what can you do to avoid internet congestion? First of all, listen to the advice professionals give you. Do not stream in HD quality when it is not necessary. Peak hours are normally between six and ten in the evening. Now, the online rush hour starts around lunchtime. People are working and children are learning, which is all happening online at the moment. So to keep society functioning we all need to help out a little. And if you have watched all the content on Netflix already, you can always use a VPN to get to content that is not available in your country.

Cybersecurity analyst
David is a cyber security analyst and one of the founders of Interested in the "digital identity" phenomenon, with special attention to the right to privacy and protection of personal data.