With more people than ever sat at home twiddling their thumbs during the global shutdown amid the Coronovirus pandemic, more people than ever are watching Netflix to pass the time. The only problem with that is that as colossal as the internet is, as well plumbed and stocked with server time as it is, it's still not enough to cope with the sheer demand for data now being placed on it.
To play its part in helping to ease the load, Netflix has pledged to lower the streaming quality for everyone in Europe for the next 30 days.
This comes shortly after EU Commissioner Thierry Breton said in statement that "[we] all have a joint responsibility to take steps to ensure the smooth functioning of the internet during the battle against the virus propagation."
Although he called on EU citizens to stop watching HD and 4K streams, Netflix hasn't blocked those entirely, but has lowered the bit rate for everything on its platform for users within the bounds of the EU. That includes the UK, even if it has technically left the European Union at this time. This should cut the overall bandwidth use of Netflix by as much as 25 percent, an enormous reduction. Netflix accounts for almost 13 percent of all global internet traffic, so this drop represents petabytes a day.
The move by Netflix was welcome by Breton, who said that it would help preserve "the smooth functioning of the internet during the Covid-19 crisis while maintaining a good experience for users."