EU calls on Netflix, other services to stream in lower quality due to bandwidth concerns

The European Union is calling on Netflix and other streaming services to use standard definition when possible to ensure internet access for all.

The push comes as internet usage rises as people across the globe are encouraged to stay home to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. 

European Union Commissioner Thierry Breton, who is responsible for the EU internal market, urged streaming services to opt for standard definition in a Wednesday tweet. 

“To beat #COVID19, we #StayAtHome,” Breton tweeted. “Teleworking & streaming help a lot but infrastructures might be in strain. To secure Internet access for all, let’s #SwitchToStandard definition when HD is not necessary.”

Breton said he had a phone call with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings about the concerns. 

A Netflix spokesperson told CNN Business that Hastings and Breton will speak again Thursday. 

“Commissioner Breton is right to highlight the importance of ensuring that the internet continues to run smoothly during this critical time,” the Netflix spokesperson told CNN. “We’ve been focused on network efficiency for many years, including providing our open connect service for free to telecommunications companies.”

Netflix said Thursday following the discussions between Breton and Hastings, the streaming service will begin reducing rates across Europe by around 25 percent for 30 days, according to a statement tweeted by a CNN reporter. 

“We estimate that this will reduce Netflix traffic on European networks by 25 percent while also ensuring a good quality service for our members,” Netflix said in the statement. 



The European Commission said while there has been an increase in internet usage, no outages have been reported, according to CNN.

— Updated at 2:25 p.m.

Tags Coronavirus Netflix Thierry Breton

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video