Coronavirus Lockdown: EU Looks to Manage Broadband Strain

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The EU has warned that broadband connections are being strained, as millions are working from home or seeking entertainment digitally whilst practicing social distancing to fight coronavirus as reported by Financial Times. today. 

One of the first steps the EU is taking to manage the situation is requesting Netflix to reduce its data traffic, along with YouTube and other streaming services. Entertainment is clearly in high demand currently, but simply limiting image quality could reduce broadband traffic significantly.

These steps are meant to ensure that those working from home can continue to rely on their internet connections. Although EU net-neutrality regulations prevent throttling, it's been reported that exceptions may needed during this global pandemic to prioritize work-from-home traffic over entertainment traffic. This is also a logical conclusion -- the economy is already suffering enough, and those working from home are key to minimizing the damage.

The increase in traffic is a clear consequence of recommendations to socially distance yourself from others to help stop the spread of COVID-19, as people flock to remote communication services, such as FaceTime and Skype. for recharging their social battery. Children taking classes from home and increased game downloads, game streaming and content streaming aren't helping either.

Nevertheless, internet and content providers are adamant that the situation is under control, claiming that they have adequate headroom in their networks to deal with such traffic surges. 

Netflix explained that it already stores content closer to its customers, reducing long-distance internet traffic, which also eases the burden. German Internet Exchange Operator DE-CIX witnessed record traffic through its networks to date, though the figures still fall well within its headroom margins.

For the time being, the EU broadband situation appears to be under control. But note that not all countries in the EU have strict stay-at-home policies yet, so internet traffic in the region is expected to rise before it falls. 

Niels Broekhuijsen

Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.