It seems as if there is hardly any sector which has not borne the brunt of the on-going corona crisis. The outbreak gives shocking news every other day, and this time it is no different. In response to a call for action from the European Commission, Facebook and Disney have decided to downgrade their streaming quality over their social media platforms. Netflix had already been asked to switch to SD.
This downgrade in quality will affect all of Europe, which comes in the purview of the Union, which is a huge region with around 445 million citizens. Earlier, there were Netflix and other streaming platforms that had been asked to switch to the SD or standard definition during periods of peak demand. It is the need of the hour given that the corona crisis means a severe load on the Internet infrastructure.
It can be understood as follows. There is a huge number of office workers who have had to switch to working online and ditching their normal office routines. This impact is mostly seen in those countries that have put up strict quarantine measures. Some nations have imposed lockdown and curfews in several parts of their governance. It is in keeping with the same idea that people have been instructed to work from home whenever it is possible.
Companies are advised to follow the lead of telecom providers and go for adapting the throughput of video streaming, to secure access to the Internet. This, the commission has underlined, would be able to do so by temporarily moving to SD rather than streaming in the HD or high definition.
Disney plus which was due for its launch in Europe has also agreed to shrink the bandwidth that is normally used by its streaming service. In the European Union region, Netflix, YouTube and Amazon had stated that they would switch to Standard Definition streaming by default. It was an event from the past week. Organizations around the world urge people to stay at their homes more and more.
Theirry Breton of the EU tweeted about his telephonic conversation with Netflix. He urged the masses to stay at home and work from home. He highlighted, “Teleworking & streaming help a lot, but infrastructures might be in strain.” During peaks of Internet activities, the streaming companies should act responsible for the global good and help secure telecommunications infrastructures across the geographies that have been affected the most.
As more and more people join the bandwagon of working from home, it becomes difficult for the telecom infrastructures to make way for each and everybody and hence access quality has to be compromised. The telecoms have also been asked to take steps to prevent and lessen the impacts of internet traffic. They have been suggested to get help from EU net neutrality rules.
The streaming companies, social media platforms and telecom operators have been requested to ease the pressure on infrastructure and encourage working from a distance and online working. Streaming platforms, telecom operators and users mark a combined responsibility to act responsibly to ensure that there is a smooth working of the Internet during the lockdown to curb the ill-effects of the virus and the propagation of disease.
When the EU was asked to clarify upon the same, a spokesperson of Theirry Breton responded by saying: “By calling for all stakeholders’ responsibility (which would include inputs from platforms, telecoms and users as well) we are proactively ensuring the smooth functioning of the Internet so that the question of prioritization does not need to be asked.”
As telecoms have reported an upsurge of traffic owing to working from home masses and those that seek the Internet for entertainment, the EU has expressed concern about the load on the Internet. As per a Facebook spokesperson who spoke to Reuters, the social media platform will temporarily reduce bit rates for all its videos on Facebook and Instagram in Europe to lessen any potential congestion in network or traffic.
Kevin Mayer, who currently serves as the chairman of Disney’s direct to consumer division, gave a statement wherein he pushed for monitoring. He said that the company would be monitoring congestion and traffic on the Internet and work in harmony with the Internet service providers. This close working would be undertaken in a bid to lessen bitrates as an important step further to make sure that they are not taken by surprise from consumer demands.