Netflix reduces bitrate of its streams in Australia to combat congestion

(Image credit: Netflix)

Following on from measures it has already undertaken to reduce network congestion in Europe, Netflix has lowered the bitrate of its streams in Australia as of last night, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.

The decision has been made to help local telcos cope with the increased demand that's being placed on their networks as more and more Australians work from home and self-isolate against the threat of Covid-19.

"Given the crisis, we've developed a way to reduce Netflix's traffic on the telecommunications network by 25 per cent while also maintaining the quality of our service," said Ken Florance, Netflix's VP of content delivery.

While the service will be taking a bitrate hit, Florance assures Netflix customers that they "should continue to get the quality that comes with their plan – where it's ultra-high, high or standard definition."

"if you are particularly tuned into video quality you may notice a very slight decrease in quality within each resolution," said Florance.

The drop in Netflix's bitrate will reportedly continue for the next 30 days, joining YouTube and game downloads on the growing list of throttled services.

Stephen Lambrechts
Senior Journalist, Phones and Entertainment

Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible. 

He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.