Coronavirus Impact: Netflix To Reduce Traffic On Telecom Networks by 25%
Netflix Inc. signage is displayed on an Apple Inc. iPhone in an arranged photograph taken in New York, U.S.. Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg

Coronavirus Impact: Netflix To Reduce Traffic On Telecom Networks by 25%

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Netflix Inc. will reduce traffic on telecom networks by 25 percent while maintaining the quality of service for users in India, as part of its efforts to help mitigate network congestion amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Amazon Prime Video too is temporarily lowering bit rates—a measure of how much data is being transferred—to ease pressure on telecom network infrastructure.

Consumption of digital content has increased manifold as people work from home due to the lockdown in India to contain the spread of Covid-19.

"Given the crisis, we've developed a way to reduce Netflix's traffic on telecom networks by 25 percent while also maintaining the quality of our service. So consumers should continue to get the quality that comes with their plan—whether it's ultra-high, high or standard definition," Netflix Vice President (Content Delivery) Ken Florance said in an emailed statement.

The measure will be deployed in India for the next 30 days, he added.

The company, which has over 167 million users globally, has already undertaken similar measures in Europe. It doesn't provide country-specific subscriber numbers.

Netflix typically has many different streams for a single title within each resolution. This action would result in removal of the highest bandwidth streams, and so, subscribers will continue to have access to the service they have paid for depending on the device they use.

In India, Netflix has a significant number of subscribers on the mobile plan, which has standard definition.

The Cellular Operators' Association of India had written to the government urging issuance of instructions to streaming platforms to initiate measures that will ease pressure on network infrastructure—needed for "critical" functions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"We support the need for careful management of telecom services to ensure they can handle the increased internet demand with so many people now at home full-time due to Covid-19... In India, we've already begun the effort to reduce streaming bitrates whilst maintaining a quality streaming experience for our customers," an Amazon Prime Video spokesperson had said.

A HotStar spokesperson had said said the company's video-streaming is based on adaptive bitrate streaming, which ensures that it is "lean" in internet consumption. However, the company said it is "prepared to reduce the bitrate for our HD streams, should the need arise".

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