Coronavirus: EU hails tech giants' efforts to safeguard internet access

Netflix Copyright Elise Amendola/Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
By Jack Parrock
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The EU Commission welcomes measures by the likes of Netflix, YouTube and Disney to manage the surge in demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.


Whether it’s an online yoga class with people joining from all over the world, a video conference call for political leaders of the European Union, or streaming television at home, use of the internet is massively increasing due to the COVID–19 virus pandemic.

EU Digital Commissioner Thierry Breton welcomes the decisions by Netflix and YouTube to reduce their videos down to standard definition quality in Europe for 30 days.

Disney is also delaying the launch of its streaming service “Disney+” in France after a request from authorities, and will cut its bandwidth usage by a quarter in other European markets.

While people are working and studying on their home networks, some digital firms are estimating a 30 to 40 per cent increase in usage.

“Global networks and the internet is able to cope. There is always an element of buffer and capacity that’s built into networks around the world, and we’re working with our service provider customers across Europe and across the world to make that we’re delivering on the capabilities that are needed in these critical times," explains Chintan Patel, Chief Technologist for Cisco UK and Ireland.

As well as reassuring customers over the capacity of servers to handle the increased demand, phone and internet companies are implementing measures to improve access for people living in parts of Europe hardest hit by the virus.

“Residential customers, business customers and students who are now doing e-learning can benefit in many countries – especially the most affected like Italy, Spain or Belgium – from free or unlimited data plans," says Alessandro Gropelli, spokesperson for European Telecommunications Network Operators.

While the coronavirus crisis continues, people in Europe are told they can use the internet for work, studying and entertainment without worry.

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