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Coronavirus: Netflix, Hotstar, YouTube asked to stream in SD to ease bandwidth burden

The coronavirus lockdown has forced people to consume more bandwidth than average for digital alternatives to payments, entertainment, and more.

  • Published: March 23, 2020 3:15 PM IST
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The Coronavirus outbreak has forced many people to stay indoors, increasing the consumption of data. In India, the consumption has gone up so much that internet speeds might start taking a hit. As a preventive measure, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has written to various OTT platforms. The letter is written to platforms including Netflix, Hotstar and YouTube. It includes a request asking the platforms to stream in Standard Definition (SD) instead of High Definition (HD).


The COAI has also written to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) urging the government to issue advisories to the players concerned on this issue. The letter to the platforms also saw the body note the increased use of digital means for various reasons. This includes communications, transactions, and entertainment use cases.

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“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,” it said.

With the lockdown being imposed on more regions and likely for longer durations, a surge in streaming is expected. The body has mentioned that during such a time it is “absolutely essential for the streaming platforms to cooperate with TSPs so as to manage the traffic distribution patterns”. Moreover, the Coronavirus lockdowns may take a while until the disease spread is curbed.

“It is pertinent to note that the need of the hour is that companies offering streaming platform service and TSPs take joint responsibility to take steps to ensure smooth functioning of the data communication networks to align with other measures being taken in this battle to curb the propagation of the virus,” the COAI said in the letter to industry players.

Further, the COAI also suggested that advertisements and pop-ups could be disabled during this time. Otherwise, they could perhaps be replaced by awareness regarding the virus. The body also suggested that platforms may also use any other better measure to decrease bandwidth consumption. The measures would mean that critical services like payment portals would remain operational at times like this. The body also said that such measures will go a long way in helping the country fight the Coronavirus pandemic.

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  • Published Date: March 23, 2020 3:15 PM IST