(Right Country) – Most Americans who are being forced to self-isolate and practice social distancing in their shut down towns, seem to be frustrated with the government orders but generally willing to comply. Probably because everyone in one of these towns rushed out and hoarded all the groceries their bank accounts would allow and most everyone has Netflix or Amazon Prime streaming services.
The quarantine of millions of Americans has essentially turned into a vacation. A brief hiatus from the pressures and chaos of the real world. An escape from the exhausting reality of the daily grind.
The same thing is happening in countries all across Europe but the increase in people streaming movies and shows on Netflix and Amazon has highlighted the potential need for “internet rationing” to prioritize apps and websites necessary to home learning and other such “critical” needs.
Zero Hedge reports:
Netflix app downloads have exploded across Europe over the last several weeks as “Netflix and chill” “Netflix and quarantine” has been all the rage during countrywide lockdowns in Italy, France, Spain, and the UK.
netflix and self-quarantine?
— maura quint (@behindyourback) March 9, 2020
We noted last Thursday that Netflix had to reduce traffic to its European networks by 25% for 30 days to preserve internet functionality as streaming traffic surged among tens of millions of people in quarantine.
Days after Netflix pledged to reduce streaming traffic, experts are saying that European countries could start rolling out large-scale “internet rationing” to prioritize critical apps and websites.
“If we end up in a situation where worldwide, 850m children start to receive lessons virtually for an extended period of time, then networks might want to start prioritizing video traffic over gaming traffic,” said Matthew Howett, principal analyst at Assembly, who spoke with The Telegraph.
British internet provider BT Group said their communication network could handle the extreme levels of data of millions surfing the internet while in quarantine. But they warned that video streaming services could start bogging down the system and leave critical networks, reserved for emergency services, exposed to slow speeds.
Besides Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube are other streaming services limiting ultra-high definition videos to European users to preserve the functionality of the internet.
The French and UK governments have reportedly asked Disney to suspend the launch of its new streaming service in both countries on March 24.
The risk of large-scale “internet rationings” by European governments could be on the horizon as more and more people across the continent are forced to shelter in their homes. This could lead to the throttling of internet speeds for citizens while internet traffic is preserved for European healthcare systems, education systems, and emergency systems.
Teleworking & streaming help a lot but infrastructures might be in strain.
To secure Internet access for all, let’s #SwitchToStandard definition when HD is not necessary.
— Thierry Breton (@ThierryBreton) March 18, 2020
Desperate times call for desperate measures, apparently. Hopefully nobody expected anything different with hundreds of millions of people stuck inside their homes for weeks with no end in sight.
This will be an interesting story to follow as it develops. Will the coronavirus crisis result in European countries having to upgrade their internet infrastructure? Most likely. It would be awesome, however, if after life gets back to normal people found the value in connecting with those around them in person more, after having lost the ability to freely do so for so long, that they’ll turn off their devices altogether.