Netflix is being urged by the European Union to stop showing video in high definition. They are asking other streaming platforms as well to prevent the internet from breaking under the strain of unprecedented usage.

More people are anticipated to use the services due to the coronavirus pandemic. With millions working from home globally, EU officials are concerned about the huge strain on internet bandwidth.


Netflix CEO Reed Hastings spoke with European Commissioner Thierry Breton about the issue. Breton called on people and companies to “#SwitchtoStandard definition when HD is not necessary”. This will help secure internet access for all.

According to CNN, Hastings and Breton will speak again on Thursday.

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“Commissioner Breton is right to highlight the importance of ensuring that the internet continues to run smoothly during this critical time,” the Netflix spokesperson said. “We’ve been focused on network efficiency for many years, including providing our open connect service for free to telecommunications companies.”

In addition, Netflix said it already adjusts the quality of streams to available network capacity. Netflix uses a special delivery network that keeps its library closer to users as a way of consuming less bandwidth.

However, Facebook acknowledged that the effects of the pandemic are also stretching it to the limit. CEO Mark Zuckerberg is seeing “big surges” in usage as the coronavirus rages on.

He described the increase in demand as “well beyond” the main annual spike usually seen on New Year’s Eve. Voice and video calls on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, in particular, are more than double usual levels.