To avoid Europe’s internet congestion, the U.S. tech giants have cut the quality of video streaming

BEIJING, March 23 (Reuters) – Facebook has announced a European-wide downgrade of the quality of video streaming on its platform and Instagram, in a positive response from the US tech giant to the European Union’s appeal. Not so long ago, as the new coronavirus exploded in Europe, forcing many people to work from home, the European Union called on technology companies to do something else to avoid network congestion caused by a surge in users.

To avoid Europe's internet congestion, the U.S. tech giants have cut the quality of video streaming

Earlier this week, Netflix, Alphabet’s YouTube, Disney, Amazon and Apple all said they would cut video quality on their platforms to ease the pressure on broadband networks.

Thierry Breton, the EU’s industry chief, called on streaming platforms to free up bandwidth to provide distance education and medical care to the thousands of children sent home after school suspensions.

Although European telecoms operators say that so far their networks have been able to cope with the rise in data traffic. But as more people work from home because of the new coronavirus pandemic, there are fears of congestion on the internet.

“To help mitigate any possible network congestion, we will temporarily reduce the bit rate of video on The Facebook and Instagram platforms in Europe,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement. “

One person familiar with the matter said the move would continue as long as European fears of possible congestion on the internet did not go away for a day.

Both Netflix and YouTube say they will reduce the quality of their pictures within 30 days. Disney, on the other hand, said it would reduce overall bandwidth utilization across Europe by at least 25 percent next week, compared with the previous one.

Amazon says it is slowing its European-wide bit rate, but continues to monitor the network in the U.S. and other countries. If there is any broadband problem, Amazon will take action elsewhere. Amazon Prime serves more than 200 countries around the world and has more than 150 million users. A spokesman for Amazon said: “We are already working to reduce streaming bit rates while maintaining a high-quality streaming experience for our customers.” “

Apple has also reduced the quality of its streaming services in Europe, a move first reported by 9to5Mac. When it was released on November 3 last year, Apple’s streaming service was praised for its high bit rate, but now 9to5Mac has seen a noticeable decline in video quality on the platform.

In general, streaming video can account for two-thirds of traffic on both fixed and mobile networks. At present, in order to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, more and more people are being asked to stay at home, so the impact of the network will continue to be concerned. In some cases, “stay at home” could lead to a nearly 60 per cent increase in the amount of content we watch, according to Nielsen, while increasing demand could be the cause of network congestion.

That means streaming services such as Netflix and Prime Video, other video platforms such as YouTube and Twitch, and online games will all affect broadband speeds, putting a lot of online pressure on students who work from home and take online courses using video conferencing tools such as Zoom. (Maple)