Originally published by the CARTT
Author: Greg O’Brien
A DAY AFTER A group of independent network operators publicly appealed to streamers Netflix and Amazon to help with the traffic congestion problems resulting from millions of Canadians now being home and online during the day due to the Covid-19 crisis, Netflix has responded and said it will implement a move to cut its traffic by 25%.
That said, Cartt.ca has learned some of the large ISPs were also quietly asking Netflix for help – and had engaged the federal government to try and influence the California-based streamer, too. Earlier this week we asked Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Navdeep Bains’ office whether or not federal government officials were talking to Netflix on this front.
“Canadians benefit from some of the best networks in the world, and we are working with providers to assess a variety of needs including network capacity,” responded Bains press secretary Veronique Simard in an email. When pressed if the government was urging Netflix specifically to act as it had in Europe, she responded “We are in touch with industry partners across all sectors.”
Whomever was the catalyst, Netflix chose to help out today.
“Given the crisis, we’ve developed a way to reduce Netflix’s traffic on telecommunications networks by 25% while also maintaining the quality of our service,” said Ken Florance, vice-president of content delivery in a statement to Cartt.ca. “So consumers should continue to get the quality that comes with their plan – whether it’s Ultra-High, High or Standard Definition. We believe that this will provide significant relief to congested networks and will be deploying it in Canada for the next 30 days.”
After politicians and network operators in Europe complained last week that the sudden influx of Netflix streaming at all hours, combined with a dramatic increase in bandwidth-hungry applications like video conferencing as people work from home, was taxing their networks to the limit, Netflix made the same change there. Google and Facebook also took action there, lowering bit rates. We don’t know yet if they will follow suit in Canada.
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