A few days ago, many internet video platforms, including YouTube, announced measures to reduce their bit rates in the European Union. Indeed, as confinement measures are becoming increasingly strict, many people are entertained by watching streaming videos, when they are not teleworking. Following a conversation with Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, YouTube decided to activate the default standard definition.
Measures announced to avoid congestion
And today, we learn that YouTube has decided to apply the same measure worldwide. “Last week, we temporarily set all standard YouTube videos to default in the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom (UK) and Switzerland (CH). Given the global nature of this crisis, we are expanding this change to the global level starting today. This update is rolling out slowly and users can manually adjust the video quality ”, we read on a YouTube help page. The situation is changing very quickly. And if a few days ago, the confinement mainly concerned China and Europe, today, similar measures are taken in several other countries or regions, including India (which will confine its population of 1.4 billion inhabitants).
The impact of the increase in internet traffic caused by the containment measures had started to worry the European Commission last week. This is why European Commissioner Thierry Breton asked YouTube, but also Netflix, to do something to reduce their bit rates. The European Commissioner for the internal market also asked internet users to switch to standard definition and to use HD only when necessary, “To secure internet access for all”.
Note also that like YouTube, Facebook and Instagram have also announced measures to reduce the bit rates of their videos in Europe “to help relieve any potential network congestion”. And it is expected that like YouTube, Facebook and Instagram will also decide to extend the speed reduction measures applied in Europe to the rest of the world.