As the wave of stay-at-home people increased across the United States, the average time it took to download videos, emails and documents increased as broadband speeds decreased, according to Ookla, a broadband speed testing service. Median download speeds dropped 38% in San Jose, California, and 24% in New York in a week, according to Broadband Now, a consumer broadband research site, reports Boston.com.

The Boston.com post added: “Quarantines around the world have made people more reliant on the internet to communicate, work, learn and stay entertained. But as the use of YouTube, Netflix, Zoom videoconferencing, Facebook calls and videogaming has surged to new highs, the stress on internet infrastructure is starting to show in Europe and the United States — and the traffic is probably far from its peak.

““This is totally unprecedented,” said Thierry Breton, a European Union commissioner who oversees digital policy and was a chief executive of France Télécom. “We have to be proactive.”

“To head off problems, European regulators like Breton have pushed streaming companies such as Netflix and YouTube to reduce the size of their video files so they do not take up as much bandwidth. In the United States, regulators have given wireless carriers access to more spectrum to bolster the capacity of their networks.

“Some tech companies have responded to the call to ease internet traffic. YouTube, which is owned by Google, said this week that it would reduce the quality of its videos from high to standard definition across the globe.

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