The EU Commission has contacted Netflix because of the concern that the increased use of video streaming services could clog the Internet in the corona virus crisis. EU Commissioner Thierry Breton spoke to Netflix boss Reed Hastings about ways to reduce the burden, as he announced on Wednesday.
Among other things, the idea was to automatically lower the image quality from HD to standard resolution under heavy load. With a higher image resolution there is a sharper image because more pixels are displayed. But more data is also transferred. Customers also pay more money for the higher resolution, the subscription is more expensive.
The Financial Times according to Youtube also received a request to that effect. The Commission called on the platforms to work with Internet providers and adjust their data throughput so as not to slow down work from home.
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A company spokesman did not say whether Netflix will comply with the request. He was rather vague: “Commissioner Breton rightly stresses the importance of keeping the Internet running smoothly during this critical period.” For many years, the focus has been on network efficiency – so try to route the videos through the network as sparingly as possible. However, experts agree that streaming and online games are the main drivers of data traffic.
Netflix recommends an Internet speed of five megabits per second for HD (High Definition), while the standard resolution is three megabits per second. But there is a really big leap with the even better Utra-HD format: Netflix recommends 25 megabits per second. The Ultra HD quality is only available in the more expensive tariff models from Netflix.
In the past few days, the German Internet providers Telekom and Vodafone have declared that they have no problems with the transmission, even if the data volume has increased significantly. The Federal Network Agency also sees German providers as well equipped. In Spain and Italy, where there are curfews, providers also report significantly more data traffic in the networks.
The Swiss government even called on people to stream fewer videos. Otherwise you could block such services. The largest Swiss providers, Swisscom and Sunrise, said that there were occasional overloads.
“The Federal Council (the government cabinet, editor’s note) calls for the services to be used with caution, which includes data-intensive services such as the transmission of video files,” said the Swiss Ministry of Communications. “This leaves enough resources free for the important services.” If serious bottlenecks arise, you have the option of restricting or blocking non-supply-related services. “According to a spokeswoman, the relevant services are, for example, voice telephone service and access to the emergency services.
The operator of the world’s largest Internet node DE-CIX in Frankfurt had previously announced that average data traffic had recently increased by ten percent. Traffic through video conferencing has increased by 50 percent within seven days. On the DE-CIX website it is said that one is prepared for the increase: “Even if all companies in Europe would only employ all of their employees remotely and the European Football Championship would be broadcast in parallel, we would still have sufficient bandwidth for seamless Links.”