As more and more people spend time at home browsing the world’s largest video site, YouTube is taking steps to reduce bandwidth usage globally.
Beginning today, the platform will deliver videos in standard definition (480p or less) by default in order to ease internet traffic and ward off potential congestion, Bloomberg reports. The edict will last for at least a month. While users will have the option to view videos in higher definition (720p and above), they will need to make the manual adjustments within the settings wheel on a per-video basis.
YouTube already instituted a similar policy in the U.K. and across the Europe Union last week, where regulators have made requests of fellow bandwidth-consuming hubs like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Of spikes in traffic, the Google-owned company has said that YouTube viewing typically spikes in the evenings, when people have returned home from work. Now, per Bloomberg, consumption is steadier across the day.
“We continue to work closely with governments and network operators around the globe to do our part to minimize stress on the system during this unprecedented situation,” Google told the outlet in a statement.
YouTube has made other adjustments in response to the coronavirus pandemic, including an exception to its long-standing sensitive events policy for monetization of limited videos about the virus. The platform has also partnered with the World Health Organization and regional healthcare organizations to remove misinformation from its site, and will soon debut a European ad campaign urging users to follow social distancing guidelines.