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COAI urges streaming platforms to reduce video quality to ease network load


The Cellular Operators Association of India or COAI has urged the department of telecommunications to issue advisories to video streaming platforms to reduce their streaming quality from high-definition to standard-definition to reduce the load on the network.

Due to lockdown or quarantine measures in various parts of the country, a sudden surge in demand for online video streaming is also expected as people are confined to their homes amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It is absolutely essential for the streaming platforms to cooperate with TSPs (telecom service providers) so as to manage the traffic distribution patterns which are likely to strain the network infrastructure at a time when it is needed for various critical requirements,” COAI said in a letter to the department of telecommunications (DoT), a copy of which was seen by Entrackr.

COAI, in a separate letter, also urged 12 streaming platforms including Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Hotstar, Zee5, Alt Balaji, Voot, Sony Liv, Viuclip, Hoichoi, Netflix, SunNXT and Voot to undertake technical measures to ease the pressure on infrastructure.

It asked them to remove advertisements and pop-ups consuming high bandwidth and put public announcements on awareness regarding the virus.

“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,” it added.

Amazon Prime supported the cause and said that it has been taking measures to help telecom service providers (TSPs) handle the increased internet demand.

“Amazon Prime Video is working with local authorities, Mobile Service Providers and Internet Service Providers, where needed to help mitigate any network congestion, including in India where we’ve already begun the effort to reduce streaming bitrates whilst maintaining a quality streaming experience for our customers,” a spokesperson told Entrackr.

Tarun Katial, CEO of ZEE5 India, said that it is committed to undertaking any preventive measures to help the entire ecosystem deal with this unprecedented situation.

“We understand Indian audiences data consumption pattern and have initiated measures to restrict the streams being delivered on any device at the player level, which will ensure the existing bandwidth is not overstretched,” he told Entrackr.

Queries to Netflix, Hotstar and AltBalaji remained unanswered until the publication of the report. We will update the post as and when they do.

With more people staying home now, streaming platforms like Netflix and Youtube have lowered their video quality to deal with any potential network congestion in Europe.

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