To alleviate the issue, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has urged the Centre to instruct the over-the-top (OTT) players like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Zee5 to ease the pressure on network infrastructure that has arisen from the increased demand for online video streaming.
COAI said: “Due to lockdown/quarantine measures in various parts of the country, a sudden surge in demand for online video streaming is also expected to rise substantially.”
The COAI cautioned the streaming platforms themselves about the surge in digital use straining the network infrastructure of telecom operators. It has urged companies to take urgent steps. One is temporarily switching from high definition to standard definition streaming. Another is removing advertisements and pop ups that consume high bandwidth and replacing them with public announcements on awareness about the coronavirus.
“It is absolutely essential for the streaming platforms to cooperate with telecom providers so as to manage the traffic distribution patterns that are likely to strain the network infrastructure ‘at a time when it is needed for various critical requirements.”
COAI added: "In the past few days, in India too, advisories have been issued by various government agencies including social distancing, restrictions in terms of workplace, also encouraging Work From Home (WFH), online/digital education, digital payments/transactions, online healthcare, wherever possible and other critical requirements to be met through digital means. This sudden surge in digital use is already putting pressure on the network infrastructure of the Telecom Service Providers (TSPs)."
COAI wrote to a dozen streaming platforms including Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Hotstar, Zee5, Alt Balaji, Voot, Sony Liv, Viuclip, Hoichoi, Netflix, SunNXT and Voot seeking their ‘cooperation for joint action to facilitate smooth functioning of data communications services in this critical period’.