The European Union is calling on video streaming services to limit providing programs in high-definition to avert an internet crash that could be triggered by extremely heavy usage because of the coronavirus pandemic.
European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton tweeted late Wednesday that he had spoken with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings about the matter. Breton also urged Netflix, other streaming companies and customers to switch to standard definition “when HD is not necessary.”Important phone conversation with @ReedHastings, CEO of @NetflixTo beat #COVID19, we #StayAtHomeTeleworking & streaming help a lot but infrastructures might be in strain. To secure Internet access for all, let’s #SwitchToStandard definition when HD is not necessary.— Thierry Breton (@ThierryBreton) March 18, 2020
Countries throughout the world have imposed restrictions on gatherings and travel in response to the pandemic, forcing hundreds of millions of workers and students to remain in their homes.
Being homebound has led to unprecedented usage of streaming services, causing concern among EU officials that it could strain internet bandwidth beyond capacity and trigger a crash.
A Netflix spokesperson told CNN that Breton and Hastings will discuss the matter again on Thursday.
Netflix said it already makes adjustments to the image quality of its programming to ensure enough network capacity is available.