With millions of users staying home at the same time, internet usage spiked like no other time during this pandemic lockdown. While Netflix bandwidth restrictions and internet service providers throttling the speeds are not new for the world, it did bring about a drastic change in the quality of content being streamed.
Many users in Europe since March have been reporting that their Netflix app on phone and those connected on cellular networks were able to stream content only in 720p or sometimes even 480p. The quality of the content being streamed will be direly visible because almost every other smartphone supports full HD 1080p resolutions these days and the app is known for streaming high quality content throughout the year.
For users who were daring enough to pay for the highest premium plan for 4K videos, the streaming bitrate was reduced from 15mbps to just 7mbps. Technically, the movies and television series European consumers were watching was still delivered in the UHD resolution as promised but it was drastically reduced so as to keep internet consumption in check.
With the world slowly moving out of the lockdown and into a much better scenario, internet traffic is slowly easing up. Netflix bandwidth restrictions are no longer stringent if latest reports are to be believed. The original bitrate has been restored to most shows while other countries are slowly coming back to their actual state of quality that people were used to throughout the year.
While internet usage continues to be on a spike due to majority of the world population working and entertaining themselves with the comfort of their home, it won’t be long before most return back to their duties and the usual weekend spike could probably be the only one to watch out for. A similar trend exists for other streaming services like Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video.