Los Gatos-based Netflix and other streaming platforms are being urged by a European Union commissioner to temporarily stop streaming content in HD due to the unprecedented levels of internet usage occurring as multiple countries go on lockdown.
In a tweet on Wednesday, EU Commissioner Thierry Breton said he had spoken to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings about possibly switching over to SD as networks become overloaded. And as TechCrunch reports, Breton is pressuring all the streaming platforms to do this, at least during critical working hours, because he's afraid all the HD home viewing is going to break the internet and make it impossible for people to work from home.
And in a statement Thursday, per CNN, Breton said that in this time of crisis, streaming platforms, 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."
Important phone conversation with @ReedHastings, CEO of @Netflix— Thierry Breton (@ThierryBreton) March 18, 2020
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.
One possible step Netflix is reportedly considering — and one we can perhaps expect in the U.S. if networks strain under the unprecedented pressure — is switching to automatic low-def (SD) during peak usage hours.
As the Guardian reported, EU telecom Vodafone reported a 50-percent spike in data usage in European countries that are going under lockdowns. "COVID-19 is already having a significant impact on our services and placing a greater demand on our network," the company said in a statement. "We should expect this trend of data growth to continue."
Virgin Mobile has also already offered its customers 10GB of free data for use during their self-isolation.