MUMBAI : Facebook Inc on Tuesday announced reducing the quality of videos on its primary social networking site and Instagram -- its photo sharing app -- to ease the rising internet traffic from residential areas due to large work from home mandates amid rapidly spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“To help alleviate any potential network congestion, we will temporarily reduce bit rates for videos on Facebook and Instagram in India. We are committed to working with our partners to manage any bandwidth constraints during this period of heavy demand, while also ensuring people are able to remain connected using Facebook apps and services during the COVID-19 pandemic," a Facebook spokesperson said.

Last week, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) took a note of rising internet demand and reached out to content streaming service providers to cooperate with telecom providers.

“The step is being taken to help our users and community handle bandwidth constraints and keep people in touch. We're working hard to make sure our infrastructure remains fast, reliable, and stable during this period," the Facebook spokesperson added.

Information Technology (IT) companies have been repeatedly highlighting the need for a strong internet infrastructure in residential areas as it is the biggest stumbling block to shift employees on critical applications to work from home. The bit rates for videos on Facebook and Instagram will be reduced in India, Europe and Latin America during this period of peak demand.

Currently, many companies are providing their employees laptops and even desktops while incentivising them to get fixed internet connections at home. Most residential connections are designed for strong download speed. Enterprise work, on the contrary, requires high upload speed.

Bharti Airtel has other wireless carriers including Reliance Jio Infocomm, BSNL, Vodafone Idea and MTNL to share networks within telecom service regions to support the internet requirements of employees working from home during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Reliance Jio on Monday announced free broadband service to new customers and offered to doubled data limit for all existing customers to support work from home in fight against the highly contagious coronavirus. The company has also doubled data limits for top-up voucher and bundle-free calling minutes to non-Jio networks in these vouchers.

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