The European Union (EU) has urged Netflix and other streaming platforms to stop showing videos in high definition so that the internet would not break under the strain of the heavy usage as the coronavirus has forced those in self-isolation to stream more content.
The spread of COVID-19 has led to quarantines, self-isolation, and lockdown on a global scale, forcing millions to work from home and a large number of children out of school.
EU officials are concerned about the unprecedented strain the recent development could cause on internet bandwidth, and European Commissioner Thierry Breton, who is in charge of the EU internal market said on Wednesday that he had talked with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.
Breton called on companies and members of the public to switch to standard definition when HD is not necessary so that everyone could still have access to the internet.
A Netflix spokesperson told CNN:
“Commissioner Breton is right to highlight the importance of ensuring that the internet continues to run smoothly during this critical time. We’ve been focused on network efficiency for many years, including providing our open connect service for free to telecommunications companies.”
Netflix disclosed that it already adjusts the quality of streams to available network capacity, using a special delivery network that keeps its library closer to users as a way of less bandwidth consumption.
Social media giant Facebook has also revealed that the global effects of COVID-19 are taking it to its limit.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told reporters that its services are facing big surges in usage as the pandemic has forced millions to stay indoors.
Zuckerberg said the increase was well beyond the main annual spike usually experienced on New Year’s Eve.