YouTube Axon 10 ProSource: Jason England / Android Central

What you need to know

  • YouTube has become the second company after Netflix to reduce streaming quality in the European Union to lessen the strain on the internet amid coronavirus spread.
  • Several European telecom providers, including Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom have reported a spike in internet traffic in recent days.
  • All traffic in the EU is being switched to standard definition by default.

With an aim to lessen the strain on the internet amid the coronavirus pandemic, Netflix announced yesterday that it will be throttling streaming across Europe for 30 days. As per a report from Reuters, YouTube has also decided to switch all traffic in the EU to standard definition by default.

The move comes after EU industry chief Thierry Breton urged all leading streaming platforms to switch to standard definition to help lower the strain on the internet during the COVID-19 crisis. Breton reportedly spoke to both Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki regarding the matter.

Earlier this week, leading European telecom provider Vodafone reported a 50% spike in internet traffic in some countries as a large number of people started working from home. A similar trend was also observed by Deutsche Telekom in recent days. With no let-up in the spread of the novel coronavirus in Europe, the trend of data growth in the old continent is expected to continue.

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Along with reducing streaming quality in Europe, YouTube has launched a COVID-19 news shelf on its homepage. The dedicated hub will provide users access to authoritative COVID-19 content. While it is currently available only in 16 countries, YouTube says the dedicated COVID-19 hub will soon be made available in more countries.