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Netflix is starting to restore normal streaming quality in parts of Europe

Netflix is starting to restore normal streaming quality in parts of Europe


The company originally reduced bitrates to lessen broadband load

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Netflix is working to restore streaming quality in various European countries following government requests for the company to reduce bandwidth usage out of fear that it was putting too much stress on broadband connections.

People in Denmark, Norway, Germany, and other countries reported noticing an uptick in streaming bitrate, according to FlatpanelsHD. Netflix confirmed to the website that it is “working with ISPs to help increase capacity.” The company did not say which countries have restored bitrate for higher-quality streaming and which ones haven’t, but The Verge has reached out for more information.

In the last month alone we have added four times the normal capacity,” a spokesperson told FlatpanelsHD. “As conditions improve we will lift these limitations.”

European Union industry chief Thierry Breton originally called on streaming platforms — including Netflix and YouTube — to help reduce their load on infrastructure used around the continent. Netflix agreed to reduce bitrates on its streams for 30 days, estimating that the move would reduce “Netflix traffic on European networks by around 25 percent,” a spokesperson told The Verge in March.

The reduction was in addition to other methods Netflix has used since 2011 to keep streaming steady in areas with low bandwidth capabilities. For example, Netflix already uses an adaptive streaming tool that automatically adjusts the quality of streaming video based on accessible bandwidth, a spokesperson for Netflix explained at the time. Netflix began the pilot of its “open connect” program when the company started streaming video between 2010 and 2011.

Other streaming services will likely follow suit, with some already reportedly upping the streaming quality. Apple Insider reports that Apple restored higher bitrates to increase streaming quality for people using Apple TV Plus late last month.