Coronavirus: Telcos urge Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Hotstar to lower streaming quality to reduce network strain

By Digit NewsDesk | Published on 23 Mar 2020
Coronavirus: Telcos urge Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Hotstar to lower streaming quality to reduce network strain
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COAI has written to OTT services asking to reduce streaming quality to reduce the burden on the network.

COAI has requested OTT platforms to reduce streaming quality from High Definition (HD) to Standard Definition (SD).

COAI has asked for a period of no advertisements and pop-ups in websites claiming these also add to high bandwidth consumption.

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The industry body of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has written to the telecom department and OTT streaming services including Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video and others to lower streaming quality in order to reduce the burden on the networks, which is at an all-time high due to people staying and working from home amidst the Covid-19 outbreak.

“We believe that during this critical time, it is absolutely essential for the streaming platforms to cooperate with telecom providers so as to manage the traffic distribution patterns which are likely to strain the network infrastructure at a time when it is needed for various critical requirements,” COAI said in a letter to video streaming companies.

In order to manage the strain on cellular networks, COAI has requested OTT platforms to reduce streaming quality from High Definition (HD) to Standard Definition (SD). According to ET Telecom, COAI has reached out to Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Hotstar and Netflix.

Advisories have been issued in India asking people to stay at home and not come to work or gather in public places. There’s a surge in work from home, online education, digital payments, online healthcare and other areas which are relying heavily on the internet. In regard to this, Reliance Jio already announcing doubling data limits on its prepaid packs.

“This sudden surge in digital use is already putting pressure on the network infrastructure of the Telecom Service Providers (TSPs). The TSPs are taking requisite steps to manage this load and facilitate the smooth functioning of the networks during this critical time,” COAI told ET Telecom.

Furthermore, COAI has asked for a period of no advertisements and pop-ups in websites claiming these also add to high bandwidth consumption, and if required these may be replaced with public announcements or awareness regarding the virus.

COAI has also reached out to the Department of Telecom (DoT) to enforce the directive on streaming apps.

Notably, similar measures have been taken by streaming services like Netflix in the US and Europe as more countries go into lockdown to prevent contagion from the coronavirus.

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