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Telecom operators ask Over-the-top media services to reduce video quality

‘Surge in digital use due to lockdown and quarantine measures straining networks’

With social distancing measures like work from home putting pressure on the country’s telecom networks, the operators have reached out to 12 video streaming platforms, including Hotstar and Netflix, to implement measures such as reducing video quality to Standard Definition (SD) to ease the stress on the networks.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has also separately written to the Department of Telecom, requesting that a communique be sent to video streaming players as it “will be more effective if a similar communication is sent from the DoT to these companies.”

In its letter to video streaming platforms, the COAI noted that in the past few days advisories had been issued by various government agencies for social distancing, restrictions in terms of workplace, encouraging work from home, online/digital education, digital payments/ transactions and online healthcare, wherever possible.

“This sudden surge in digital use is already putting pressure on the network infrastructure of the telecom service providers. The TSPs are taking requisite steps to manage this load and facilitate the smooth functioning of the networks during this critical time,” it said.

However, due to lockdown and quarantine measures, a sudden surge in demand for online video streaming is also expected. “We believe that during this critical time, it is absolutely essential for the streaming platforms to cooperate with TSPs so as to manage the traffic distribution patterns which are likely to strain the network infrastructure at a time when it is needed for various critical requirements.”

‘Remove ads’

The industry body added that there were various measures that the streaming platform companies could undertake in this present situation, including temporarily moving to SD (Standard Definition) from HD (High Definition) streaming.

“We understand that there may be other such technical measures that may be taken to ease the pressure on infrastructure. Also, during this period, advertisements and pop-ups, which usually consume high bandwidth should be removed and if required, replaced with public announcements on awareness regarding the virus.”

The letter has been sent to 12 streaming services, namely Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Hotstar, Zee5, Alt Balaji, Voot, Sony Liv, Viuclip, Hoichoi, SunNXT and Voot.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 3:13:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telecom-operators-ask-over-the-top-media-services-to-reduce-video-quality/article31136171.ece

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