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Following talks with Brussels, Netflix cuts streaming quality to ease internet congestion in Europe

EPA/ETIENNE LAURENT
A file picture dated 15 September 214 of the French Netflix webpage displayed on a computer screen in Paris, France.

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Netflix will reduce its streaming quality across Europe for at least 30 days, to reduce the strain on internet service providers, following talks with Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton.
“We estimate that this will reduce Netflix traffic on European networks by around 25% while also ensuring a good quality service for our members,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement.
The EU has urged Netflix and other streaming services to restrict users from streaming in HD to ease bandwidth strain during the COVID-19 pandemic, as several countries are in lockdown, with their citizens in self-isolation and teleworking.
Breton spoke with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings both on Wednesday and Thursday, as demand for streaming across Europe is unprecedented. The Commissioner had urged users to “switch to standard definition when HD is not necessary.” He also stressed the “joint responsibility” streaming platforms, telecom operators and users have in “ensuring the smooth functioning of the internet.”


Breton praised the “very prompt action” Netflix took almost right after the phone call, saying it would “preserve the smooth functioning of the internet during the COVID-19 crisis”.

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