19:18 GMT05 June 2020
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    Coronavirus Pandemic: Borders Shut, Public Events Cancelled (257)
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    As countries have started to tighten quarantine measures amid the spread of the novel coronavirus and citizens have been advised to stay home all over Europe, streaming platforms are facing an Internet overload.

    YouTube has officially announced it will reduce its streaming quality in the European Union to avoid Internet gridlock as thousands of Europeans switch to working from home due to the coronavirus outbreak.

    "We are making a commitment to temporarily switch all traffic in the EU to standard definition by default", the company said in a statement.

    According to the platform, the decision includes the UK and will initially last for 30 days, subject to review.

    The statement comes after EU industry chief Thierry Breton asked streaming platforms to lower the quality of their videos to avert an Internet overload. 

    "I warmly welcome the initiative that Google has taken to preserve the smooth functioning of the internet during the COVID19 crisis", Breton said in a statement.

    European telecom providers have reported a spike in data traffic in recent days, as children are now learning online and people are working from home. 

    A day earlier, Netflix stated that it would lower bit rates, which regulate the quality and size of its audio and video files, across all of its streams in Europe for 30 days, cutting its traffic on European networks by around 25%.

    The World Health Organisation declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on 11 March. More than 244,000 people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 10,000 fatalities, according to John Hopkins University. The epicentre of the pandemic has now shifted from China to Europe, where the total number of infected individuals has surpassed 80,000.

    Coronavirus Pandemic: Borders Shut, Public Events Cancelled (257)
    quality, video, netflix, YouTube, Europe, coronavirus, COVID-19
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