Following the moves by Netflix and YouTube, Amazon announced today that it will also accelerate bit rates in Europe in an effort to conserve bandwidth. The online giant confirmed the move in a statement to Newsdio, writing:
We support the need for careful management of telecommunications services to ensure that they can handle the increased demand for the Internet with so many people now at home full time due to COVID-19. Prime Video is working with local authorities and Internet service providers when necessary to help mitigate any network congestion, including in Europe, where we have already started to reduce bit rate while maintaining a streaming experience quality for our customers.
The European Union yesterday asked streaming services, particularly Netflix, to switch to SD streaming during peak hours. The request comes when refugee populations there have begun to tax Internet bandwidth on the continent. Increasingly, users are turning to teleconferencing and other remote interfaces to maintain social distance amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Changing HD and higher transmission speeds could help ease some of the stress on infrastructure. YouTube made a similar announcement earlier today, noting that "we commit to temporarily change all traffic in the EU to the standard default definition" in a statement provided to the press.