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EU pressures Netflix to lower bandwidth during outbreak

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Thierry Breton, the European Union’s Internal Market and Services Commissioner has called on streaming services to take steps to prevent an internet gridlock in the wake of the Coronavirus.

Speaking directly to content providers such as Netflix and YouTube, Breton expressed his concern that such streaming service would have on communications networks given the increase in people working from home due to the virus.

“Streaming platforms, telecom operators and users, we all have a joint responsibility to take steps to ensure the smooth functioning of the internet during the battle against the virus propagation,” said earlier this week.

In a call, Breton urged Netflix CEO Reed Hastings transition its content from high definition to standard definition during peak times to try and ease the strain on the network as well as to help ease the stress on the telcos.

He also advised that users use appropriate settings and WiFi to reduce their data consumption.

In doing so, Breton asserts that the network will be better able to support emergency/healthcare needs, online teaching to name a few.

In a series of Tweets Breton reaffirmed this message using the hashtag #SwitchToStandard and calling out Netflix CEO Hastings directly.

Important phone conversation with @ReedHastings, CEO of @Netflix To beat #COVID19, we #StayAtHome Teleworking & streaming help a lot but infrastructures might be in strain. To secure Internet access for all, let’s #SwitchToStandard definition when HD is not necessary. — Thierry Breton (@ThierryBreton) March 18, 2020


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