Volume 32
Issue 1
Fall '19

Feeding the Beast: Addressing the Internet’s Insatiable Power Consumption

Written By: Kevin Hotchkiss

Abstract

The Internet has a seemingly endless hunger for electricity; a hunger which will only continue to grow at a rapid rate. By 2025, the Internet may be the fifth largest power consumer in the world. With growing concern about climate change, and resolutions such as the United Nations Sustainable Development goals, the United States needs to begin considering how to make the Internet more power efficient. The most energy efficient means for the Internet to exist is a complete fiber to home network that spans the entire country, but there are many economic barriers that prevent full development of a fiber to home network.

In order to combat the economic barriers that block the development of a completely fiber broadband infrastructure, the United States should create broadband cooperatives. Broadband cooperatives combine public funding with private ownership and eliminate corporate barriers to proper development of expensive infrastructure. There is strong historical precedents to the success of cooperatives, and this approach would likely appeal to all sides of the political spectrum. Faced with the near imminent danger of climate change, and the Internet’s continuously growing appetite for electricity, the United States needs to look to the past to pave a way to the future.

Continue Reading Feeding the Beast: Addressing the Internet’s Insatiable Power Consumption

Subscribe to GELR