European Commission welcomes move by Netflix, YouTube to ease pressure on internet infrastructure

European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton has welcomed the commitment of streaming providers Netflix and YouTube to take action to reduce the pressure on the internet infrastructure in the context of increased connectivity demands resulting from social distancing measures in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

In a call with CEO Reed Hastings, Netflix announced to reduce bit rates across all streams in Europe for 30 days, thus reducing Netflix traffic on European networks by 25 per cent, the European Commission said on March 20.

In a call with Google CEO Sundar Pichai and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, YouTube also committed to temporarily switch all traffic in the EU to Standard Definition by default.

The Commission is also in touch with European broadcasters and other relevant services, it said.

The announcements followed on statements made by Breton on March 19, calling on the responsibility of streaming services, operators and users to prevent congestion and ensure the open internet.

He advised streaming platforms to offer standard rather than high definition and to cooperate with telecom operators. The latter should take preventive and mitigating measures.

Breton also encouraged users to apply settings that reduce data consumption, including the use of Wi-Fi or lower resolution for content.

Although the increased demand for internet connectivity is not causing a general situation of network congestion thus far, as a precautionary measure, yesterday, the Commission and the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC) set up a special reporting mechanism to monitor the internet traffic situation in each EU country to be able to respond to capacity issues.

(Photo: Michael Illuchine/



The Sofia Globe staff

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