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YouTube follows Netflix and reduces stream quality in Europe

Will switch all traffic in the EU and Britain to SD by default

YouTube has announced it is lowering the quality of its streams in the European Union in order to reduce the impact coronavirus is having on the internet.

With millions of people across Europe working from home, EU commissioner Thierry Breton urged streaming platforms to cut the quality of their videos to prevent internet overload.

Yesterday, Netflix announced it will reduce bit rates across all its streams in Europe for 30 days. Now YouTube has followed suit, announcing its decision includes Britain and will initially be for 30 days.

The company said so far it had only seen a few usage peaks but decided to act to minimise stress on the system.

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

“I warmly welcome the initiative that Google has taken to preserve the smooth functioning of the internet during the COVID19 crisis,” added commissioner Breton.