Netflix cuts video bitrates to ease network loads

Netflix has reduced its video bitrates in Europe to free up internet capacity for essential services.

The temporary change follows recent concern in a number of countries that the high usage of streaming services by users under Coronavirus lockdown is affecting other essential services and home workers.

Ahead of the announcement, it was confirmed that the European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton spoke to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings earlier in the day about the load on networks that Netflix was creating.

In a tweet, he even advised Netflix users to switch to standard definition when "HD is not necessary".

The change is expected to reduce Netflix's load on networks by 25%.

Earlier this week, Swiss authorities were even considering blocking Netflix as a last resort after Swisscom's networks suffered outages as citizens were told to stay at home.

Update: 20/03/2020
Amazon Prime and YouTube have followed Netflix and also announced similar bitrate reductions.