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Netflix and Youtube: no HD in the EU, for Coronavirus

By Giacomo Martiradonna Friday 20 March 2020

At a time when the Internet is mainly used to work and make services work, the EU is asking Netflix, Youtube and others to lower the quality of video streaming. And some have already said yes.

In these hours, the EU has formally asked companies that offer video streaming – such as Youtube, Netflix, Apple, Amazon and Disney – to lower quality of their contents, so as to preserve the integrity of the Internet in the Old Continent for smart worker and essential services.

Coronavirus emergency, Apple donates to Civil Protection

Coronavirus emergency, Apple donates to Civil Protection

In this climate of uncertainty and difficulty, Tim Cook gives a concrete hand to our country with a "significant" donation to the Italian Civil Protection.

In Europe, laws on net neutrality make bandwidth reduction measures on certain types of content illegal; and that's good. But in a difficult moment like the one we live in, we need to put on a collaborative level that allows us to safeguard the balance of the Internet and avoid nuisance congestion.

Now that everyone is at home and the schools are closed, in fact, national and European traffic has reached peaks never seen. In our country, TIM recorded an increase in traffic of 70%, while at the Milan Internet Exchange (the famous MIX), the data interconnection center that routes 20% of national traffic, an increase of 25%. And most of this data comes from streaming services, Call of Duty games and so on. All rubbish not really necessary, especially when compared to the needs of those who, with the Internet, work, produce and carry out that little economics left.

From Netflix and Youtube they give the go-ahead. According to the BBC, and for the next 30 days, the bitrate of the videos will be lowered in a way that guarantees the 25% less traffic without a visible impact on quality:

"Following the speech between Commissioner Thierry Breton and (Netflix Manager) Reed Hastings, and given the extraordinary challenges raised by Coronavirus, Netflix has decided to start reducing bitrates on all our streams in Europe for 30 days."

All Youtube videos, on the other hand, will automatically switch to Standard Definition, until further notice. The sooner we get out, the better it will be for everyone. Strength and courage, and go easy on streaming, Bit Torrent and company.