Yesterday Netflix announced that it's lowering video quality to reduce the strain on the internet – and now, according to Reuters, YouTube has followed suit. The video platform is cutting quality in Europe as thousands of people, social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic, work - and watch videos – from home.
In a statement, YouTube said: “We are making a commitment to temporarily switch all traffic in the EU to standard definition by default.”
The decision to switch from high-definition (HD) to standard definition (SD) by default comes after EU commissioner Thierry Breton successfully convinced Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to ease the load on Europe's networks by lowering bitrate for 30 days.
Breton tweeted on Wednesday: "#SwitchToStandard definition when HD is not necessary... Teleworking & streaming help a lot but infrastructures might be in strain."
The EU data chief subsequently spoke to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, who agreed to support the EU's #SwitchToStandard campaign.
There's no word on when the drop in YouTube quality will happen or how long the restrictions will last but Vodafone, TalkTalk and BT have all reporting surges in internet traffic in recent days. Experts are worried that vital technologies such as e-learning and video calling could soon be affected.
On a more positive note, BT has said that while weekday daytime traffic has shot up by 35 to 60 percent, it's "nowhere near" it's network's full capacity.