Facebook and Instagram lower the bitrate of videos in order not to clog the European network put under stress by the Covid-19 emergency: what's changing
The Covid-19 emergency is showing the world the potential of the Internet, smart working and streaming digital entertainment. The latter is keeping company to millions of people forced to stay at home in Italy, but also in the rest of Europe. The situation, however, is quite different from the "standard" one and data bandwidth consumption in recent weeks has skyrocketed.
That's why in recent days Netflix and YouTube have accepted the invitation of the European Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services Thierry Breton who, through the campaign #SwitchToStandard, has asked the streaming giants to lower the bitrate of their transmissions to decrease by about 25% the traffic on the network. This choice should leave precious bandwidth to those who must work and those who must communicate to manage the coronavirus emergency. Now other companies have also joined Breton's call: Facebook and Instagram have lowered the quality of their videos.
Facebook lowers video quality
"To help alleviate any potential network congestion," Facebook explained in a statement to Engadget, "we will temporarily reduce the bitrate of videos on Facebook and Instagram in Europe. We are committed to working with our partners to manage any bandwidth constraints during this period of high demand." If we see Facebook and Instagram videos in the coming days and notice a lower quality than we're used to, then, it won't be the fault of our Internet connection.
Also Disney, Apple and Amazon lower quality
The same appeal as Breton has also been joined by Disney, Apple and Amazon. The bitrate of the respective streaming services Disney+, Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime Video has therefore been reduced in order not to congest the Internet network due to the large amount of transmitted content. In this situation is even more particular the case of Disney+, which will begin to broadcast in Italy starting tomorrow, March 24, and will be able to do so only at reduced quality.
All companies that have agreed to reduce the bitrate, however, will not change the catalog made available to users. The contents to watch during the quarantine, therefore, will be there and they will be abundant. We just won't be able to watch them at the highest quality available.