Netflix suffers outages as lockdown streaming demand surges

Matthew Field
Close up Netflix website in laptop screen - wutwhanfoto/iStock Editorial

Netflix suffered outages across Europe and the US  last night as millions of people in lockdown due to coronavirus attempted to use the streaming service. .

Downdetector, a website that monitors outages of apps and websites, reported a surge in problems with Netflix as individuals struggled to connect to the app and video streaming stuttered. 

Around 1,600 outages were reported at one stage on Wednesday evening with hundreds more overnight. Netflix says the issue has now been fixed.

Netflix’s support page currently warns customers that due to the number of support staff working from home it has been “harder to support your calls” and that it was seeing “higher than normal wait times”.

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Streaming services have been asked by the European Union to lower the video quality of their streaming so as to avoid overloading networks as millions log on to stream at the same time.

Netflix said last week it had found a way to reduce network traffic by 25pc in Italy and Spain, where it had seen the biggest increases in demand. The limited streaming has since been rolled out to the rest of Europe and the UK.

The US company said to achieve this “for the next 30 days, within each category we’ve simply removed the highest bandwidth streams. You may notice a very slight decrease in quality with each resolution”.

Other streaming sites, including Disney Plus which launched in the UK this week, have made changes to reduce overall bandwidth demand by 25pc. Amazon, YouTube, Facebook and Apple TV Plus have all similarly taken moves to choke video streaming bit rates in a bid to limit network congestion.