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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.

Net Netrality Redux: COX Service Provider Launches "Elite Gamer" Fastlane Add-on Service

I'll abstain from commenting and just let you guys sort this news piece out: internet service provider Cox has introduced a new fast lane option to their internet service. Dubbed the "Elite Gamer" add-on, the optional $15 service will work to ensure gamers get the best possible experience in their favorite multiplayer games. According to Cox, this "hidden" fastlane for internet traffic will be routed through a gaming-centric routing network, which will allow for up to "34 percent less lag, 55 percent fewer ping spikes, and 45 percent less jitter" than its existing internet service.

Apex Legends, Fortnite and Overwatch are the current games being touted as having specific routing pathways, and this will work with absolutely no input from the user. Data packets from these applications will be automatically sorted and rerouted through Cox' servers, which also means that this service does exactly - and limitedly - what it aims to. There will be no other improvements to the overall "interneting" experience: it's a cool $15 for what amounts to (prospectively) higher K/D ratios. It remains to be seen what impact this actually has in the competitive scene, and whether or not the listed games' lag compensation techniques serve to even the playing field somewhat. Let me throw a small wrench into the equation here: more services like this will eventually appear, which may or may not be specifically geared towards gaming. Nothing prevents ISP's from creating application or content-specific data caps, for which you'll then have to purchase data bundles or subscription services (this happens in Portugal already, but it's mostly limited to mobile bandwidth). A bright, split-lane future awaits all of us.
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