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Telcos urge Netflix, Amazon, Youtube to ease network stress by reducing video quality


Telecoms operators have reached out to at least 12 major Over-The-Top (OTT) video streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon, Hotstar and Youtube to undertake measures like switching off HD content to ease the pressure on network infrastructures.

The telcos under the aegis of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has also urged the telecom department (DoT) to issue a communication to streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar.

“We believe this will be more effective if a similar communication is sent from DoT to these companies.”COAI represents Airtel, Vodafone Idea, Reliance Jio and telecom gear makers in India.

Notably, similar measures are being taken by various streaming platforms internationally like in the US and Europe as more and more countries enter lockdown to combat the spread of the virus.


COAI asked OTT companies to provide a suitable level of service to their customers at the most appropriate bitrate required, one such measure being temporarily moving to SD (Standard Definition) rather than HD (Hi Definition) streaming.

In India, advisories have been issued by various government agencies including social distancing, restrictions in terms of work place, also encouraging Work From Home (WFH), online/ digital education, digital payments/ transactions, online healthcare, wherever possible and other critical requirements to be met through digital means, which COAI said is putting pressure on the network infrastructure of the telecom service providers.

“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.


“We understand that there may be other such technical measures that may be taken to ease the pressure on infrastructure. Also, during this period, advertisements and pop ups, which usually consume high bandwidth should be removed and if required, may be replaced with public announcements on awareness regarding the virus.

“This joint action from all of us to suitably the pressure on infrastructure and to facilitate remote working, online education, digital healthcare, payments and other critical services at a time of region-wide public health crisis would go a long way in helping the citizens and country at large,” the association said.

COAI, in its letter, said that the need of the hour is that companies offering streaming platform service and telcos 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.


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