COAI asks OTT players to lower resolution to reduce burden on internet during Covid-19 quaratine period

Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has urged the telecom department and OTT platforms such as Netflix, Hotstar, Voot, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube and others, to lower the streaming resolution to reduce the burden on the networks, as online VOD consumption has spiked with people staying quarantined at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. “We believe that during this critical time, it is absolutely essential for the streaming platforms to cooperate with TSPs to manage traffic distribution patterns which are likely to strain network infrastructure at a time when it is needed for various critical requirements,” COAI said in a letter to OTT platforms. The body also called for lowering streaming quality to Standard Definition (SD) from High Definition (HD). COAI’s letter is in stark contrast with Airtel’s official statement of working on improving the network to provide seamless consumption and work from home facilities.   “Airtel has built a future ready and highly secure network with adequate capacity to serve the evolving needs of our customers. Given our massive investments in pan India 4G presence, a robust national optic fiber and global submarine cable footprint along with Data Centers, there is sufficient capacity to provide bandwidth on demand to our retail and enterprise customers,” an Airtel spokesperson told Hindustan Times earlier this week. Reliance Jio, meanwhile, has launched a double data offer to millions of prepaid customers. Broadband players such as ACT Fibernet and BSNL have introduced special work from home schemes for the fixed line users. “This sudden surge in digital use is already putting pressure on the network infrastructure of the Telecom Service Providers (TSPs). The TSPs are taking requisite steps to manage this load and facilitate the smooth functioning of the networks during this critical time. It is pertinent to note that the need of the hour is that companies offering streaming platform service and TSPs take joint responsibility to take steps to ensure smooth functioning of the data communication networks to align with other measures being taken in this battle to curb the propagation of the virus,” COAI added in the letter to the OTT services. Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that Netflix, Disney and other OTT players have reduced the streaming quality in Europe to prevent internet overload. Netflix said that the move will help reduce traffic overflow by around 25 per cent in Europe. The streaming giant will “begin reducing bit rates across all our streams in Europe for 30 days. We estimate that this will reduce Netflix traffic on European networks by around 25 percent while also ensuring a good quality service for our members,” a Netflix spokesperson said.