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DICT urging more streaming platforms to help stabilize Internet connectivity

/ 08:30 AM March 31, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is urging more streaming platforms, like Facebook or Amazon, to follow other companies in reducing their streaming bitrates to ease data congestion as the month-long quarantine triggers an increase in online data demand.

The DICT noted that video streaming companies like Google—which manages video-sharing site Youtube—, iFlix and iWant already agreed to manage their streaming bitrates to help free-up bandwidth.

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“It is hoped that more streaming platforms like Facebook, Amazon and others will likewise consider the government’s call to cooperate in ensuring internet stability and reducing the strain in the country’s ICT infostructure,” the DICT said in a statement on Tuesday.

With this, the public could expect steadier Internet experience in the following weeks, DICT added.

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According to the DICT, Google has already started shifting YouTube’s default definition setting from High Definition (HD) to Standard Definition (SD) on mobile and broadband network connections.

Nevertheless, Google said it would still allow users to switch to HD in cases where HD makes an important difference to users like in some learning contexts, the DICT noted.

While no content is being streamed at 4k resolution on iFlix at the moment, the video streaming company assured it will continuously balance bandwidth usage so that “as little data as possible” is used, the DICT said.

The DICT added that the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), in an earlier statement, said iWant started reducing its streaming bitrate by 33 percent last March 27, 2020.

More internet streaming services downgrade video quality

In a memorandum dated March 12, 2020, the DICT directed the NTC to monitor the compliance of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in providing ample bandwidth allocation and availability of service and signal based on their service level agreements during the enhanced community quarantine.

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Netflix to adjust video quality as COVID-19 quarantine kicks up internet usage

The NTC is an attached agency of the DICT.

“As part of its initiatives, the NTC has requested assistance from online streaming platforms in the Philippines as an added measure to ensure stability of Internet service in the country,” the DICT said.

Online streaming platform Netflix was among the first to respond by reducing its streaming bitrates in the Philippines, which is expected to reduce Netflix’s bandwidth usage by 25 percent, the DICT noted.

GSG
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TAGS: DICT, enhanced community quarantine, google, iFlix, iWant, Nation, news, streaming bitrate, youtube
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