After Europe, Netflix decides to reduce its service bandwidth in Australia as internet service providers struggle to meet the soaring demand from people who are stuck at home due to Coronavirus lockdown.
From today’s evening, the American giant will lower down the streaming bandwidth of its service to support ISPs and telecommunication services to cope with rising demand. The company is already taken this step in Europe.
And this activity will be enforced for the next 30 days in Australia, stated by Netflix’s vice president of content delivery “Ken Florance.”
“Given the crisis, we’ve developed a way to reduce Netflix’s traffic on the telecommunications network by 25 percent while also maintaining the quality of our service,” Mr. Florance said.
“Consumers should continue to get the quality that comes with their plan – where it’s ultra-high, high, or standard definition.”
Since Netflix offers different video quality streaming standards for its content, the current decision means the high-quality streams will no longer available with the same quality as they were before.
However, Netflix says consumers will still get the quality they pay for – ultra-high, high or standard definition – but “if you are particularly tuned into video quality, you may notice a very slight decrease in quality within each resolution”.
This decision will give a massive relief to mobile and broadband internet service providers who are struggling from the last few weeks, as Australians home isolating themselves and companies are making work from home mandatory to contain a Coronavirus outbreak in Australia.
In addition to congestion on the fixed broadband network, telcos have also been experiencing spiking demand on mobile networks. A spokeswoman for Telstra said it was increasing daily, and congestion was affecting 3-4 percent of calls, with “no impact on data as yet”.
“Overall mobile call volumes on certain routes and geographies are up by more than 50%. Specific numbers to Government call centers are experiencing three times the call volumes compared to last week, and over twenty times the normal call volume,” the spokeswoman said.
“Yesterday, we made significant improvements to capacity and call routing on our network, which has allowed us to manage the significantly higher call volumes.”
Netflix’s decision on reducing bandwidth follows a letter from Mr. Fletcher, sent on Monday, asking them to immediately consider reducing bit rates in Australia during the crisis, consistent with the decision in Europe.
Mr. Fletcher welcomed Netflix’s “proactive decision” to ease demand on the broadband network.
“NBN is accommodating increases in peak hour traffic, and there is substantial headroom for retail service providers to meet further demands,” he said.
“The measures taken by Netflix are sensible and helpful in anticipation of greater traffic and data use on residential broadband in the near-term. At the same time, there is unlikely to be a noticeable change for viewers.”
Mr. Fletcher said he had “every expectation that other over-the-top providers will adopt similarly helpful measures in the community’s interest over this period”.
After this initiative, Netflix will become the first online service to reduce its streaming bandwidth to support local internet providers to tackle abnormal demand for the internet due to the COVID-19 lockdown in Australia.
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