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Netflix cuts streaming quality in Europe as Internet usage soars

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With mobile-only plan for Rs 65 Netflix intensifies OTT price war in IndiaLondon, March 20 (IANS) As European Union (EU) stares at Internet breakdown owing to more people who are currently home and are streaming various online services for both entertainment and work, Netflix has decided to cut streaming bits rate from High-Definition (HD) tp Standard Definition (SD) so that traffic can be reduced.

The move was announced after discussions between EU Commissioner Thierry Breton and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings over the growing new coronavirus concerns, TechCrunch reported late Thursday.

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“Netflix has decided to begin reducing bit rates across all our streams in Europe for 30 days. We estimate that this will reduce Netflix traffic on European networks by around 25 percent while also ensuring a good quality service for our members,” the company said in a statement.

Vodafone also reported 50 per cent surge in Internet traffic in some European countries earlier this week.

“Covid-19 is already having a significant impact on our services and placing a greater demand on our network. We should expect this trend of data growth to continue,” Vodafone said in a statement.

“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,” Breton tweeted.

Later, in a statement, he said that telecom operators and users “all have a joint responsibility to take steps to ensure the smooth functioning of the internet during the battle against the virus propagation.”

Internet usage is growing globally as more and more people opt to with from home amid the growing COVID-19 fears.

Virgin Mobile has reportedly offered its customers 10GB of free data for use during their self-isolation.

–IANS

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