Netflix agrees to reduce default video quality in Canada

Netflix has agreed to reduce the default quality of its video in Canada, following an appeal by the Canadian Network Operators Consortium, Canadian Communication Systems Alliance, and Independent Telecommunications Providers Association.

On Wednesday, the coalition of independent internet and telecom service provider advocates, sent a letter to Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and other OTT video providers urging them to adjust offered video bitrates to 1080p or lower to better serve Canadians during the high demand for residential internet.

The three organizations say collectively OTT video has contributed to a 20 to 30% increase in aggregate internet transit over the last seven to 10 days.

This will definitely help the independent members in managing increasing capacity issues as we’ve seen a dramatic spike in traffic during COVID-19,” Jeff Brownlee, Executive Director, Canadian Network Operators Consortium, told Broadcast Dialogue in an email. “Video is by far the largest consumer of bandwidth and with Netflix striving for a 25% reduction, it will free up much-needed bandwidth to keep Canada connected during this crisis.”

As of publication, Brownlee said the coalition had not yet heard from other OTT providers, but were optimistic they would follow the lead of Netflix.

Members of the advocacy organizations include small to medium-sized ISPs like TekSavvy, Montreal-headquartered ACN (All Communications Network), and Kawartha Cable Internet.

OTT providers in Europe, including Netflix, Disney+, and YouTube have complied with similar requests there to reduce traffic by 25%. YouTube has dropped HD streaming in Europe, while Disney+ has announced it’s delaying its launch in France until Apr. 7.


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Connie Thiessen
Connie Thiessen
Connie has worked coast-to-coast as a reporter, editor, anchor and host at CKNW and News 1130 in Vancouver, News 95.7 and CBC in Halifax, and CFCW Edmonton, among other stations. With a passion for music, film and community service, she led News 95.7 to a 2013 Atlantic Journalism Award and regional RTDNA award for Best Radio Newscast. More recently, she was nominated for Music Journalist of the Year at Canadian Music Week 2019. To report a typo or error please email -

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