Wednesday, March 25th 2020

YouTube and Netflix Begin Rationing Their Bandwidth as Lockdowns Surge Online Traffic

Popular video streaming sites YouTube and Netflix have reportedly started rationing their bandwidth by limiting video quality, as online traffic to their services surge to record levels. With COVID-19 lockdowns forcing people to take to online entertainment, the sites are reporting an unprecedented strain on their finite Internet bandwidth. In Europe, the two sites have capped their video quality to 480p, or slightly worse than DVD quality.

Despite the mighty backing of AWS, the world's largest CDN, Amazon's Prime Video is also finding itself having to cap quality based on regional bandwidth constraints. Google is already engaging with governments and ISPs to minimize strain on available Internet bandwidth. Streaming video remains the number one bandwidth consumer. Governments would want to prioritize bandwidth for companies operating remote- or virtual desktops for their employees working from home. Perhaps there's no better time to upgrade online video codecs to newer bandwidth-efficient ones like AV1.
Source: Bloomberg
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36 Comments on YouTube and Netflix Begin Rationing Their Bandwidth as Lockdowns Surge Online Traffic

#1
Halo3Addict
Times like this I'm happy to have my Plex server :)
Posted on Reply
#2
Turmania
I can understand why they do it. But if you do it for paying customer they should as well forfeit the money until it resumes back to normal.only fair.
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#3
Octavean
Well one would think the end user has little choice in the matte. However, Netflix and Amazon Prime are not free services. YouTube is a mix of free and pay media. For those services that are not free, these compan have no right to accrue the same fees from their customers when they are not providing the same level of service. Youtube gets a pass on their free content but that’s it. In addition Amazon Prime is suppose to provide easy fast no additional cost shipping too and that has been debased as well due to high demand.

These companies should voluntarily attempt to address this either by lowering their monthly cost or extending service periods at no additional cost. If you pay for a service or utility like phone, cable or water and the service is interrupted for a period of time(or effectively not usable through no fault of your own) you should receive a “Prorate“ on your bill. They can’t charge you for services not rendered and they shouldn’t charge you full price for services not rendered properly.
Posted on Reply
#4
Bytales
Octavean
Well one would think the end user has little choice in the matte. However, Netflix and Amazon Prime are not free services. YouTube is a mix of free and pay media. For those services that are not free, these compan have no right to accrue the same fees from their customers when they are not providing the same level of service. Youtube gets a pass on their free content but that’s it. In addition Amazon Prime is suppose to provide easy fast no additional cost shipping too and that has been debased as well due to high demand.

These companies should voluntarily attempt to address this either by lowering their monthly cost or extending service periods at no additional cost. If you pay for a service or utility like phone, cable or water and the service is interrupted for a period of time(or effectively not usable through no fault of your own) you should receive a “Prorate“ on your bill. They can’t charge you for services not rendered and they shouldn’t charge you full price for services not rendered properly.
Yeah, not gonna happen !
Posted on Reply
#5
AnarchoPrimitiv
Maybe this will be impetus for American ISPs to upgrade their services so as to not be the slowest on average for all industrialized countries. This is zero exaggeration, but their are literally numerous places in American still that do not receive ANY internet access, and even more that get such bad service that they cannot even be qualified as "broadband" according to the FCC's own criteria. I find myself in that very situation now. I recently moved up to a remote New Hampshire to stay with some family during pandemic from where I live in New Jersey. In New Jersey, I had symmetrical gigabit internet (985Mbps Down/ 970Mbps Up) for $65/month. Now, where I'm located in New Hampshire, the ONLY ISP available provides DSL with the impressive speed of ....[drumroll].... 1.5Mbps.....that's not a typo....it's literally 1 POINT 5 megabits per second, and there's literally nothing else available with the exception of Hughesnet satellite, but that only offers 25Mbps and they have a 50GB download limit per month, meaning that, for example, I couldn't even download a single game like Borderlands 3 (68GB) which I've still not been able to claim my free copy of from buying my 5700XT Back in November because the internet's too damn slow. (I tried a few times thinking that, alright, it'll just take several weeks and I'll do a little at a time, but the lovely Epic Games launcher just loves to randomly disappear my download progress and have me start all over again. The fourth and final attempt was when I had completely approximately 50GB of the download and it erased my progress).

What makes it worse is that on the other side of the small town, literally a two minute drive down the road (3 or 4 miles) they're able to get much faster cable broadband. I had just built a new computer at the end of November (2700x/5700XT) and it's basically a glorified e-Machine because all it can do is look at websites and watch youtube videos at 240p (as long as no one else in the house is trying to use the internet at the same time). I get even angrier when I researched that years ago that the federal and state governments had given hundreds of millions of dollars to the telecoms to expand broadband access and they basically just pocketed tax payers money.
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#6
Rahnak
btarunr
In Europe, the two sites have capped their video quality to 480p, or slightly worse than DVD quality.
No, they haven't. I just watched a video on youtube at 1080p60 and I've been watching Netflix every night with no reduction in quality.
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#8
Basard
Good thing our internet in the US is already garbage.:roll:
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#9
R0H1T
This is a critical move for services which rely on the internet, you don't want online education, healthcare or crucial meetings being disrupted by people watching cat videos on 8k :rolleyes:

I'm fine with reduced quality as long as the other (critical) services are getting prioritized. And just to be clear from what I read the request was at the behest of ISPs IIRC because of the reasons stated above.
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#10
c2DDragon
In Europe, the two sites have capped their video quality to 480p, or slightly worse than DVD quality.
Source ???????????????????
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I have 1080p (and more) in France. :wtf:
Posted on Reply
#11
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
btarunr
In Europe, the two sites have capped their video quality to 480p, or slightly worse than DVD quality.
This is just completely inaccurate. Netflix is still streaming at full resolutions.

Turmania
I can understand why they do it. But if you do it for paying customer they should as well forfeit the money until it resumes back to normal.only fair.
The customer is still getting what they paid for technically. When it comes to video quality, the tiers people pay for are resolution based. Netflix is reducing the bitrate, not the resolution.

And even then, I doubt most people even know that each resolution typically actually has 2-3 different bitrate streams that Netflix can use, they do this to adjust to people's internet speeds and prevent buffering. So they're likely just disabling the top bitrate stream so it doesn't get used. And the reality is most users won't even notice the difference. For example, the highest 1080p bitrate is usually ~5Mb/s, the next is ~3Mb/s. The actually quality difference between those two is very hard to notice.
Posted on Reply
#12
chfrcoghlan
You can still watch YouTube videos in 1080p and even 2160p, it's just the default quality that's been "capped".
In Europe, videos start in 480p by default now, but you can change it. Well, at least in theory. They still start in 1080p for me.
Posted on Reply
#13
wiak
c2DDragon
Source ???????????????????




I have 1080p (and more) in France. :wtf:
it defaults to 480p but you can change it to max res if you want, most people dont change default settings
Posted on Reply
#14
c2DDragon
wiak
it defaults to 480p but you can change it to max res if you want, most people dont change default settings
It's not a cap then, there is no restriction, it's just false to write the quality is capped.
Posted on Reply
#16
Rahnak
My default on YouTube is still 1080p. Just checked.
Posted on Reply
#17
bug
Funny enough, I was looking at some traffic charts last week that were showing traffic is 10-20% higher that it was a year ago.

Now, corporate VPNs, Microsoft Teams and such, those were hit hard. Mostly because IT departments are still living in the stone age.
Posted on Reply
#18
moob
AnarchoPrimitiv
Maybe this will be impetus for American ISPs to upgrade their services so as to not be the slowest on average for all industrialized countries.
Bwahahahahahahahaha...I needed that. If anything, ISPs are going to point to this as a justification for their asinine data caps. We need Pai gone, we need Title II, and we need ISPs to be treated like utilities. Until there's competition nothing's going to be improved.
Posted on Reply
#19
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
c2DDragon
It's not a cap then, there is no restriction, it's just false to write the quality is capped.
It is also false to write that they are rationing "their" bandwidth. They have plenty of bandwidth, they are rationing how much they actually use to save from using too much of the infrastructure's bandwidth. So they don't overload connections on the route from their servers to their customers.
Posted on Reply
#20
Readlight
I all the time use hd mobile internet slow and devices.
Posted on Reply
#21
vega22
Options are the same but they are running at reduced bitrates.
Posted on Reply
#22
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
Octavean
Well one would think the end user has little choice in the matte. However, Netflix and Amazon Prime are not free services. YouTube is a mix of free and pay media. For those services that are not free, these compan have no right to accrue the same fees from their customers when they are not providing the same level of service. Youtube gets a pass on their free content but that’s it. In addition Amazon Prime is suppose to provide easy fast no additional cost shipping too and that has been debased as well due to high demand.

These companies should voluntarily attempt to address this either by lowering their monthly cost or extending service periods at no additional cost. If you pay for a service or utility like phone, cable or water and the service is interrupted for a period of time(or effectively not usable through no fault of your own) you should receive a “Prorate“ on your bill. They can’t charge you for services not rendered and they shouldn’t charge you full price for services not rendered properly.
Actually, it is their right, just as it's your right to cancel your subscription. No one is stopping you.
Posted on Reply
#23
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
Turmania
I can understand why they do it. But if you do it for paying customer they should as well forfeit the money until it resumes back to normal.only fair.
Sadly. thats not how capitalism works.

In other youtube related news. I have been suffering from videos that wont buffer and will only play when 144p is selected for around 2 months. 3 out of 5 videos i click on have this issue.

However - these occurrences have been falling and i haven't encountered a video i wasnt able to play at 1080p and above smoothly. (78mb/s fiber optic) for a while now
Posted on Reply
#24
Sir Alex Ice
All this capping is useless, the ISPs are not overloaded as they have bothered to tell us several times.

This is just bullshit stirred up by an incompetent office monkey appointed as EU commissioner.
Posted on Reply
#25
my_name_is_earl
I pay for the bandwidth. Then they throttle it back down. Me cancel... Good game.
Posted on Reply
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