YouTube has confirmed that it will lower video quality on its platform around the world for one month in response to increased traffic caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Google-owned company first instituted this policy in Europe, where streaming services have been asked to reduce bandwidth usage. As it stands, the Canadian government hasn’t yet called for a similar limitation.
According to Bloomberg, videos will begin to play in standard definition at default “over the coming days.” However, users will still be able to watch in HD if they manually switch the video quality.
Unsurprisingly, streaming services and internet service providers have been experiencing significant spikes in traffic as more people around the world are remaining at home to curb the spread of COVID-19. In Canada, Bell, Rogers and Telus are working together to maintain service stability in response to the increased home internet usage.
Speaking to Bloomberg, a YouTube spokesperson said the company doesn’t expect the world to run out of internet bandwidth anytime soon and is simply limiting video quality as a precautionary measure.