Amid Covid-19 lockdowns, COAI asks streaming platforms to reduce video quality to ease network load

Amid Covid-19 lockdowns, COAI asks streaming platforms to reduce video quality to ease network load
Photo Credit: Pixabay
23 Mar, 2020

Anticipating a spike in online movie and TV series viewership during the Covid-19 lockdown, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has written to the government and 12 streaming companies, asking the latter to reduce streaming quality on their platforms to ease the load on network infrastructure. 

The industry body includes members such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio Infocomm. It has asked the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) and streaming services companies such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Hotstar SonyLiv, Zee5 and Alt Balaji, to move to standard definition video quality from high definition. 

The COAI also asked the DoT to issue a similar communication to streaming companies for the directive to be “more effective”. 

“Due to lockdown/quarantine measures in various parts of the country, a sudden surge in demand for online video streaming is expected to rise substantially. We believe that during this critical time, it is essential for streaming platforms to cooperate with telecom service providers to manage traffic distribution patterns, which are likely to strain the network infrastructure,” the COAI said in its letter.

The letter cited, as an example, the European Union’s directive to Netflix, Amazon and YouTube in the region, which suggested that the platforms downgrade streaming bit-rates during peak hours to conserve bandwidth.

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