Europeans looking to watch YouTube videos in 4K may be out of luck, the streaming service announced Friday.
The Google subsidiary will reduce its streaming quality in the European Union to reduce the strain it puts on the Internet as millions of Europeans are forced to stay inside due to the coronavirus pandemic.
YouTube’s announcement comes on the heels of Netflix’s commitment to reduce its web traffic on European networks by 25 percent after EU industry chief Thierry Breton asked streaming platforms to reduce the quality of their videos to prevent internet gridlock.
Several European telecom providers, including Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom, have reported a spike in data traffic in recent days. Countries like Spain and Italy have instituted nationwide lockdowns, forcing residents to stay indoors as much as possible to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Videos account for a large chunk of internet traffic data, with higher quality streams requiring more data than lower resolution videos.
YouTube’s move came after Breton spoke to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. It said so far it had only seen a few usage peaks but decided to act to minimize stress on the system.
“We are making a commitment to temporarily switch all traffic in the EU to standard definition by default,” the company said in a statement.
With Post wires