Coronavirus pandemic has pushed people back into their homes as India heads for a lockdown. This has resulted major pressure on the Internet infrastructure worldwide, as people are now using online services more than ever before, for streaming, online lectures, working from home etc. Thus, telecom operators in India have urged  telecom department and the home ministry to step in and force streaming platforms to reduce streaming bit rates to ease strain on country’s already strained telecom infrastructure.

The approach is simple. Telcos are demanding streaming platforms to cut back to standard definition (SD) as the highest available resolution, to combat the increase in traffic. Telcos have also asked these platforms to dispense with heavy bandwidth-consuming advertisements and pop-ups to ease network load.

Streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Youtube and Hotstar have managed to amass a wide base among Indians, who enjoy one of the cheapest data rates around the world. Most of these services tend to adjust video quality according to the available data speed, usually offering the best resolution possible. However, with the amount of people staying at home due to the coronavirus and the perpetual increase in traffic, the streaming of HD content by a suddenly large number of people, can lead to excessive load on network units of these telecom companies.

The move will ensure that telecom operators can continue to provide services to users in the new environment, by maintaining low bit rates and easing up the pressure on the networks.

Netflix has already ensured that it is working on a way to utilize less internet bandwidth without compromising quality.

Companies like Netflix, Amazon, Google (or more specifically, Youtube) have taken measures to combat this problem in other parts of the world. In Europe, Netflix and Prime Video have already complied to the demands of network administrators, cutting down the streaming quality to standard definition, while Youtube decided to scale back the default video quality to SD, with the added option to scale it up if the user intends to.

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