YouTube, Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL.O) said it would reduce its streaming quality in the European Union on Friday to avoid internet gridlock as thousands of Europeans, limited by the coronavirus outbreak, move from home to work.
YouTube is the second organization after Netflix (NFLX.O) behaving after EU industry leader Thierry Breton advised streaming companies to cut the price of their videos to avoid overloading the internet. Videos account for a large part of the data on internet traffic.
The change came after Breton met with Sundar Pichai, CEO of the Alphabet and Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube.
The company said it had seen just a few consumption peaks so far but wanted to act to reduce device tension.
We make a pledge to temporarily move all traffic in the EU to default standard definition,” the firm said in a statement.
A spokesperson said Britain is included in the announcement, which will initially be subject to scrutiny for 30 days.
Standard definition videos aren’t as informative or sharp as videos in high definition.
I warmly welcome Google’s effort to maintain the smooth running of the site during the COVID19 crisis,” Breton said in a statement.
In recent days, European telecommunications providers, from Vodafone (VOD.L) to Deutsche Telekom (DTEGn. DE), have announced an increase in data traffic, prompting Breton to issue its preemptive call before the internet breaks down.
Breton needs the Internet to be able, during the coronavirus epidemic, to cope with critical resources such as education and online learning by thousands of house-bound children.
On Thursday, Netflix announced it would reduce the bit rates that dictate the quality and size of its audio and video files for 30 days across all its streams in Europe, effectively reducing its European network traffic by about 25%.
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31 March, 2020