COAI Asks Netflix, Amazon Prime, Others To Take Steps To Ease Network Pressure Amid Coronavirus Lockdowns
An employee walks past a posters for Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Video streaming service at the company’s office campus in Hyderabad. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

COAI Asks Netflix, Amazon Prime, Others To Take Steps To Ease Network Pressure Amid Coronavirus Lockdowns

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Anticipating a spike in online video streaming demand amid lockdown and quarantine measures to contain the spread of coronavirus, the Cellular Operators' Association of India has urged the government to issue immediate instructions to streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and others to initiate measures that will ease pressure on network infrastructure, which is needed for "critical" functions at this juncture.

COAI has also approached streaming platforms cautioning them about a surge in digital use straining network infrastructure of telecom operators, and urged companies to take urgent steps like temporarily switching to a standard definition from high definition streaming, removing high bandwidth-consuming advertisements and pop-ups, and replacing them with public announcements on awareness regarding the virus.

In a letter to Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash, COAI has said, "Due to lockdown/ quarantine measures in various parts of the country, a sudden surge in demand for online video streaming is also expected to rise substantially."

Citing the "unprecedented situation" due to the outbreak of coronavirus, COAI noted that the governments are taking various measures to reduce social interactions, in order to contain the spread of the pandemic.

In the past few days, in India too, advisories have been issued by various government agencies including social distancing, restrictions in terms of the workplace, also encouraging Work From Home, online/digital education, digital payments/transactions, online healthcare, wherever possible and other critical requirements to be met through digital means. This sudden surge in digital use is already putting pressure on the network infrastructure of the telecom service providers.
COAI Statement

Also read: Containing Coronavirus: NPCI Pushes Digital Payment Options To Discourage Social Contact 

COAI has also written to a dozen streaming platform including Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Hotstar, Zee5, Alt Balaji, Voot, Sony Liv, Viuclip, Hoichoi, Netflix, SunNXT and Voot seeking their "cooperation for joint action to facilitate smooth functioning of data communications services in this critical period".

"We understand that there are various measures that the streaming platform companies can undertake in this present situation to continue to provide a suitable level of service to their customers at the most appropriate bit rate required," the mobile industry association said in its communication to streaming platforms.

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