We all take the internet for granted now, and the frustration of not being able to connect has overridden the joy of actually having an internet connection in the first place. Internet usage has skyrocketed over the years since it was made available to the world, but now we may have reached a tipping point; could the internet collapse?
Skyrocketing Usage Rates
Engineers have done great work so far at keeping up with demand, but there is only so much they can do. Just 10 years ago broadband internet has a maximum speed of 2MB per second, and now in 2015 many homes enjoy internet speeds of 100MB per second. Despite this huge increase in capacity, usage rates are growing too fast for current connectivity infrastructure to keep up, and perhaps even the power grid too.
UK at Full Capacity in 8 Years
Experts in Britain have predicted that the fiber optic cables that keep the UK connected will have reached their capacity in just 8 years time, if internet usage continues to grow at its current rate. At Aston University in Birmingham, Professor Ellis explained, “We are starting to reach the point in the research lab where we can’t get any more data into a single optical fiber.” Another startling finding is that within 20 years time, if the growth of internet usage does not slow down, Britain’s entire power supply will be used up solely by internet usage.
What Does the Future Hold?
If nothing is done to improve the capacity of the cables and telecommunication towers that connect us to the internet the result could be caps on how much people can use and higher internet bills. But what about a more apocalyptic vision of the future, where the internet actually collapses? Lets hope this doesn’t happen and the internet stays open for all.