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Netflix complaints rise as coronavirus lockdowns strain service

“Love Is Blind”
Amber Pike and Matt Barnett in “Love Is Blind”
(Netflix)

Complaints about Netflix Inc.’s service are pouring in from the U.S. and Europe, a sign that soaring home viewing because of coronavirus lockdowns may be straining the streaming service.

The problems surged a little after noon New York time, according to Downdetector, which tracks service complaints via social media. The most common issue, reported by more than 40% of respondents, was the loss of a connection to Netflix, the site found. As of 1:17 p.m., the outages were more concentrated in Western Europe.

Netflix on Thursday said it is reducing its impact on Europe’s internet bandwidth after a European Union commissioner raised concerns about the effect streaming services will have on the area’s infrastructure. The coronavirus outbreak has caused a surge in home viewing and internet usage.

“Some of our members in the U.S. and Europe were unable to use Netflix via our website for around an hour this morning,” a spokeswoman for Netflix said. “The issue is now fixed, and we’re sorry for the inconvenience.”

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Netflix and other streaming services have been reducing the quality of their video streams in Europe and elsewhere, hoping to ensure networks can handle increased usage during the coronavirus outbreak.

The nation’s largest mobile phone carrier, Verizon, last week received government permission for additional spectrum to handle a surge in internet usage during the coronavirus health crisis.

Netflix recently said it was creating a $100-million fund to provide emergency support primarily for workers on its productions, including electricians, carpenters and drivers.

Times staff writer Wendy Lee contributed to this report.


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