COAI asks Netflix, Hotstar, other OTTs to lower streaming quality to reduce internet overload

COAI asks Netflix, Hotstar, other OTTs to lower streaming quality to reduce internet overload

Last updated on: March 23, 2020 at 9:35 pm IST

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Industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has written to the telecom department and over-the-top (OTT) companies such as Netflix, Hotstar, Voot, and Amazon Prime Video to lower the streaming resolution to reduce the burden on the networks in the wake of people staying at home due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“We believe that during this critical time, it is absolutely essential for the streaming platforms to cooperate with TSPs to manage traffic distribution patterns which are likely to strain network infrastructure at a time when it is needed for various critical requirements,” COAI said in a letter to OTT platforms.
The body also called for lowering streaming quality to Standard Definition (SD) from High Definition (HD). According to ET Telecom, COAI has requested the same to OTT players like Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube and Hotstar.
“This sudden surge in digital use is already putting pressure on the network infrastructure of the Telecom Service Providers (TSPs). The TSPs are taking requisite steps to manage this load and facilitate the smooth functioning of the networks during this critical time,” COAI wrote.
“It is pertinent to note that the need of the hour is that companies offering streaming platform service and TSPs take joint responsibility to take steps to ensure smooth functioning of the data communication networks to align with other measures being taken in this battle to curb the propagation of the virus,” COAI added in its letter to the OTT services.
COAI’s letter is in start contrast with what Airtel had said on the imminent load on the network with more people staying at home amid coronavirus outbreak.
“Airtel has built a future ready and highly secure network with adequate capacity to serve the evolving needs of our customers. Given our massive investments in pan India 4G presence, a robust national optic fiber and global submarine cable footprint along with Data Centers, there is sufficient capacity to provide bandwidth on demand to our retail and enterprise customers,” an Airtel spokesperson told Hindustan Times earlier this week.
Reliance Jio, meanwhile, has launched double data offer to millions of prepaid customers. Broadband players such as ACT Fibernet and BSNL have introduced special work from home schemes for the fixed line users.
It’s worth noting that Netflix, Disney and other OTT players have reduced the streaming quality in Europe to prevent internet overload. Netflix said that the move will help reduce traffic overflow by around 25% in Europe.
The streaming giant will “begin reducing bit rates across all our streams in Europe for 30 days,” a Netflix spokesperson said.
“We estimate that this will reduce Netflix traffic on European networks by around 25 percent while also ensuring a good quality service for our members,” the statement added.