Increasing Demand for Streaming Services Causes Internet to Slow Down

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment

Listening

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. thrive / θraɪv / (v) – to do well or be successful
    Example:

    His business is thriving because his products are in demand.


  2. surge / sɜrdʒ / (v) – to rise or increase
    Example:

    Gas prices are surging because of high demand.


  3. essential / əˈsɛn ʃəl / (adj) – describing something that is very important
    Example:

    The government has assured the public that there is enough supply of essential goods.


  4. downgrade / ˈdaʊnˌgreɪd / (v) – to reduce the quality of something
    Example:

    You need to downgrade the image’s quality so that the file won’t be too heavy.


  5. bandwidth / ˈbændˌwɪdθ / (n) – the capacity of a system to send or receive data
    Example:

    You need to increase your internet’s bandwidth if you plan to stream high-definition videos.


Article

Read the text below.

The video-streaming industry is thriving, but it is slowing down the internet.


As more people around the world are forced to stay at home because of the spread of the coronavirus, global internet usage is also increasing. Based on reports, streaming is one of the major causes of the sudden boom in internet usage.


Because many people are streaming simultaneously, the internet speed is being affected. Experts have warned that if the demand for streaming services continues to surgeessential online activities, like online classes and remote work, will be affected.


To address the problem of internet speed, several video-streaming platforms have come up with different solutions.


Many streaming companies, including Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and Netflix, have announced that they will downgrade their streaming quality in Europe to minimize bandwidth usage. Netflix also reduced its streaming quality in other parts of the world, while YouTube downgraded its video quality to standard definition, which uses less bandwidth than high definition does.


Despite its move to reduce its streaming quality in Europe, Amazon said that it will do the same in the United States and other countries only if their governments request it.


According to one expert, new streaming services will likely emerge during the lockdown because people will look for new programs to watch. This means that the industry will continue to grow while other businesses are suffering losses because of the current global health crisis. While streaming platforms may compete for a single bandwidth, these companies can survive as long as the internet’s infrastructure can sustain the increasing usage.


Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think all streaming companies should be required to downgrade their streaming quality? Why or why not?

• In your opinion, should governments be involved in addressing the internet speed problem? Explain.


Discussion B

• Why do you think some people heavily depend on the internet for entertainment? Explain.

• Aside from online activities, what other things can people do at home? Discuss.