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Netflix is cutting back on the bandwidth it takes to stream videos to members in the European Union after a European Commission member voiced concerns over network strain.
"Following the discussions between Commissioner Thierry Breton and Reed Hastings — and given the extraordinary challenges raised by the coronavirus — Netflix has decided to begin reducing bit rates across all our streams in Europe for 30 days," a Netflix spokesperson told Protocol. "We estimate that this will reduce Netflix traffic on European networks by around 25% while also ensuring a good quality service for our members."
Netflix has long used its own caching appliances to deliver content close to the edge; with its latest tweak, the company now seems to address concerns that the last mile is being overloaded with streams while people need to hunker down at home.
Janko Roettgers (@jank0) is a senior reporter at Protocol, reporting on the shifting power dynamics between tech, media, and entertainment, including the impact of new technologies. Previously, Janko was Variety's first-ever technology writer in San Francisco, where he covered big tech and emerging technologies. He has reported for Gigaom, Frankfurter Rundschau, Berliner Zeitung, and ORF, among others. He has written three books on consumer cord-cutting and online music and co-edited an anthology on internet subcultures. He lives with his family in Oakland.