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Netflix, Hotstar Asked To Reduce Streaming Quality To Ease Network Burden

Netflix, Hotstar Asked To Reduce Streaming Quality To Ease Network Burden

Increased consumption of online videos amid coronavirus is stressing networks

COAI has urged OTT platforms to take measures to ensure smooth video streaming

The body has also urged the telecommunication department to issue an advisory on the same

Amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country, most of the companies have asked their employees to work from home to prevent contamination and spread of Covid-19. In this situation, many employees, locked down inside their homes, are glued to over-the-top (OTT) video streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, YouTube among others.

However, this increased consumption of online videos on digital screens is now putting pressure on the infrastructure of telecom service providers (TSPs). To solve this issue, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has now urged OTT platforms to take measures to ensure continuous smooth video streaming to these people, according to an NDTV report.

In its letter to OTT platforms, COAI has suggested many measures to OTT players to reduce the burden on the infrastructure of telecom service providers (TSPs). In one such measure, COAI had asked them to reduce the quality of streaming to SD (standard definition) from HD (high definition) streaming. COAI has also urged these platforms to remove advertisements and pop-ups from the platforms as they consume high data. “If required, these ads can be used as tools to raise awareness on coronavirus,” COAI said.

Besides OTT platforms, COAI has also written to the department of telecommunications (DoT) to issue an advisory to these OTT platforms to take appropriate measures to lessen the burden on the infrastructure of telecom operators.

According to COAI, the 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 added.

COAI noted that if the demand from streaming services will be low, the infrastructure of TSPs can be used to facilitate remote working, online education, digital healthcare, payments, public healthcare.

Speaking to Inc42, a Hotstar spokesperson said that the platform is already one of the most efficient streaming services in the world. “Our service is built for India and its mobile-first and cost-conscious consumers. Our video streaming is based on Adaptive Bitrate Streaming, which ensures that we are lean in internet consumption,” the spokesperson added.

Moreover, there has been a sudden surge in demand for online streaming services. This has also put more pressure on the infrastructure of TSPs. COAI said that, during this period, it is absolutely essential for the streaming platforms to cooperate with TSPs so as to manage the traffic distribution patterns. The letter to DoT also cited examples of other countries in America and Europe which have taken measures in this regard.