Netflix to reduce traffic on ISPs by 25% in India in a bid to minimize network congestion

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on March 25, 2020

Move to ensure better bandwidth for those working from home because of the lockdown

Following the announcement of a 21-day lockdown owing to the coronavirus pandemic, Netflix on Tuesday said that it will be lowering its traffic on internet networks by 25 per cent in India for 30 days.

The announcement comes after Netflix implemented a similar strategy in Europe in order to reduce congestion on these networks as more people turn to work from home, TechCrunch reported.

The American OTT giant said that it will be following a similar strategy in other parts of the world where better bandwidth is needed to work from home owing to the lockdowns in light of the current crisis.

“We immediately developed, tested and deployed a way to reduce Netflix’s traffic on these networks by 25 per cent — starting with Italy and Spain, which we’re experiencing the biggest impact. Within 48 hours, we’d hit that goal and we’re now deploying this across the rest of Europe and the UK,” it had said in a statement last week.

The streaming giant assured that there will be minimal to no difference in video quality while streaming following this move citing the example of Europe.

“In normal circumstances, we have many (sometimes dozens) of different streams for a single title within each resolution. In Europe, for the next 30 days, within each category, we’ve simply removed the highest bandwidth streams. If you are particularly tuned into video quality you may notice a very slight decrease in quality within each resolution. But you will still get the video quality you paid for,” it said.

Avoid congestion, says COAI

Amazon Prime Video said that it had also started to lower the data consumption by its streaming platform. Homegrown OTT platforms including Disney’s Hotstar, Times Internet’s MX Player and Zee5 will also be working to implement similar measures, TechCrunch reported.

The move comes after the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) had urged streaming services last week to lessen their burden on internet pipelines in order to avoid congestion issues as usage surges due to more people working from home.

COAI, in two separate letters sent to the Department of Telecom (DoT) and OTT (over-the-top) streaming platforms, had said that the increasing number of people working from home and the rise in digital services usage “is already putting pressure on the network infrastructure”.

“We believe that during this critical time, it is absolutely essential for the streaming platforms to cooperate with TSPs to manage traffic distribution patterns which are likely to strain network infrastructure at a time when it is needed for various critical requirements,” COAI said in its letter to OTT platforms, according to media reports.

Published on March 25, 2020

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