Mar 20, 2020

Coronavirus: BT has 'plenty of capacity' despite Netflix quality cuts

BT says its broadband infrastructure has plenty of "Headroom" to cope with increased demand as more people stay home due to coronavirus. The company said that since Tuesday, data use on its network had increased by between 35-60%. On Thursday, Netflix said it would lower the picture quality of movies in Europe, to reduce data use. The highest rate of traffic BT has ever seen on its own network is 17.5 terabits per second, on an evening where there was high demand for video games downloads and streaming football. Data use peaked at 17:00 GMT every day this week, the time of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's daily news briefing about the coronavirus. It said current use was "Well within the levels the network is built to handle", but encouraged customers to use a landline phone if they have one, or internet voice-calling services such as Skype, WhatsApp or Zoom instead. On Thursday, Netflix said it would reduce the bitrate of movies in Europe, to reduce data use by about 25%. The company said it was in response to "The extraordinary challenges raised by the coronavirus".

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