Probably one of the fears that may have crossed your mind for the last few days is “Will the world run out of Internet bandwidth soon?” This is because a lot of people are quarantined or locked down and so people are consuming extraordinary amounts of Netflix, Spotify, and other streaming services. While they don’t believe we’ll run out of bandwidth, YouTube is taking a step to ease Internet traffic by reducing or limiting the default video quality of their content, at least for just one month.
Bloomberg talks about this move by Google to help lessen the pressure on the global Internet bandwidth. YouTube’s traffic has understandably surged over the past few days as more people are deciding to stay home to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Some countries have already instituted lockdowns, quarantines, and shelter-in-place policies and so people are spending their time watching their favorite shows, movies, videos.
Streaming YouTube videos will of course require more bandwidth. So for one month, what they will do is set the default of the videos you will see to standard definition or 360p. However, if you want to watch it in 720p or 1080p, you will still be able to do so. You will have to be the one to choose the video quality. They’re hoping that either people will be too lazy to change the settings or they will just be satisfied with 360p, thinking about how we all need to ease up on the bandwidth so there will be enough for everyone.
Regulators in Europe have already asked major streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to reduce their bandwidth. YouTube was also one of the services that did that and so they are just extending this policy to the rest of the world. Previously, they have also limited the video quality depending on a user’s Internet connection.
Hopefully, people will realize that they can still enjoy their TV shows or music videos in standard quality and not be selfish enough to watch everything on 1080p. While we probably will not run out of bandwidth, it will stretch resources of our Internet providers and so users must all cooperate.