As people are advised to stay at home in most parts of the world so as to flatten the curve and reduce the coronavirus rate of infections, more and more people are going online to watch stuff. And apparently in Europe, this has caused a strain on Internet service providers. Netflix is stepping in by reducing streaming quality by 25% for European subscribers, the BBC reports.
It is not yet clear if Netflix will be doing the same for subscribers in America, or other parts of the world. But it is highly unlikely the will make such a decision for us African subscribers. Remember, Safaricom has just recently doubled internet speeds for all Home Fibre subscribers in Kenya to encourage working from home.
One cannot, however, compare internet demand in Kenya with that in Europe. Starting with population numbers….
Earlier this week, Vodafone reported a 50% rise in internet use. Facebook said they’ve seen huge surges in users. Of course YouTube will see huge numbers too. And with all that demand, internet providers will be struggling. Netflix’s decision is therefore sound as it reduces data demand when streaming. An hour of streaming is about 3GB on HD, and only 1GB on standard definition.
Netflix argues that the 25% reduction in quality won’t be bad and that users will still find the picture quality good. But what I can’t understand is what happens to users who’ve paid for the higher tier bouquets? If a user has paid for HD or UltraHD subscription, will they be refunded? Will they get a free month later on?