Sunday 22 March 2020 6:18 pm

Facebook and Instagram cut streaming quality amid broadband surge

Facebook today said it will cut streaming quality for videos posted to its platform to help reduce the strain on broadband networks during the coronavirus outbreak.

The measures will be rolled out across Europe, and also apply to Facebook-owned social media app Instagram.

“We are committed to working with our partners to manage any bandwidth constraints during this period of heavy demand, while also ensuring people are able to remain connected using Facebook apps and services,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement.

It follows similar moves by rival tech firms amid concerns that internet services will be overloaded as millions of people remain at home to work during the pandemic.

Disney, Apple, Youtube, Amazon and Netflix have all said they will lower bitrates in a bid to alleviate the strain on broadband networks.

The BBC is said to be in discussions over a similar restriction to its services on iPlayer.

UK telecoms firms have experienced a huge rise in demand for data and voice calls since Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to work from home.

All four UK mobile operators have suffered outages in recent days, while Vodafone has reported a 50 per cent increase in mobile data usage in some European countries as a result of the pandemic.