YouTube said on Friday it will reduce its streaming quality in the European Union to avoid straining the internet as Europeans switch to teleworking and watch videos at home.
Netflix has also previously acted likewise after EU industry chief Thierry Breton urged streaming platforms to cut the quality of their videos to prevent internet gridlock.
"Following the discussions between Commissioner Thierry Breton and Reed Hastings -- and given the extraordinary challenges raised by the coronavirus -- Netflix has decided to begin reducing bit rates across all our streams in Europe for 30 days," Netflix said in a statement.
“We are making a commitment to temporarily switch all traffic in the EU to standard definition by default,” Youtube said in a statement.
"People are coming to YouTube to find authoritative news, learning content and make connections during these uncertain times. While we have seen only a few usage peaks, we have measures in place to automatically adjust our system to use less network capacity. We are in ongoing conversations with the regulators (including Ofcom), governments and network operators all over Europe, and are making a commitment to temporarily default all traffic in the UK and the EU to Standard Definition. We will continue our work to minimize stress on the system, while also delivering a good user experience."
Amazon has also begun lowering streaming bitrates for Prime Video viewers in Europe. In a statement, the company said it agreed with the notion that telecom services need to be managed carefully during the coronavirus pandemic, otherwise people won't be able to work from home and minimize economic turmoil. "Prime Video is working with local authorities and Internet Service Providers where needed to help mitigate any network congestion, including in Europe where we've already begun the effort to reduce streaming bitrates whilst maintaining a quality streaming experience for our customers," a Prime Video spokesperson added.
Video steaming requires much more bandwidth than other forms of casual internet use.
Meanwhile, France has asked Disney to delay the launch of Disney+ to ease infrastructure loads.
Disney also said on Friday that it is postponing the launch of its streaming service in India, one of the largest entertainment markets, after the biggest local attraction, Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament, was rescheduled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Given the delay of the season, we have made the decision to briefly pause the roll-out of Disney+ and will announce a new revised premiere date for the service soon,” said Uday Shankar, President of The Walt Disney Company APAC and Chairman of Star & Disney India.
In the UK, operator BT noted that many more folks are working from home due to the pandemic, so daytime traffic has increased up to 60 percent. However, it's still "only around half the average evening peak, and nowhere near the 17.5 Tb/s we have proved the network can handle," the company wrote.