Internet may have to be rationed, warn scientists

Posted on May 11, 2015


The amount of power it takes to fuel an increasingly digitised society could soon lead to nationwide broadband rationing, according to the findings of a recent report.

Released by the Royal Society, the study points out that online networks currently gobble up almost a twelfth (about 8%) of the UK’s total power output, which is the equivalent of three nuclear power stations.

The academics who compiled the report have warned that action may need to be taken to reduce the likelihood of a potential ‘capacity crunch’.

Such a shortage would no doubt have a significant effect on companies that rely on internet marketing campaigns to boost brand awareness and increase sales.

Aston University’s Andrew Ellis, a professor of optical communications, explained how experts now believe that the growth in the amount of power required to maintain online services could rise by as much as 100% every four years.

According to Broadband Choice, Ellis added that online networks could – if no preventative measures are taken – be using all of the power generated in the UK by 2035. He also warned that consumers have to decide whether or not they are willing to pay more for access to broadband.

Discussing the issue, BT’s head of optical access, Andrew Lord, commented:

“We could expand the network by laying more cables but the economics of that do not work and it would increase power consumption.”

Following the publication of the report, the Royal Society is now calling for more attention on the issue.

Richard is a Web Content Editor at Engage Web. He has had work published in a number of independent magazines and spends much of his spare time writing short stories.
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