The rampant uptake of the internet will eventually lead to an exhaustion of UK power supplies, a team of scientists claim.
According to the Sunday Times, experts will give the bad news to the Royal Society this week that drastic action will be required to prevent such a future.
“The internet is already consuming at least 8 per cent of Britain’s power output, equivalent to the output of three nuclear power stations, and demand is soaring,” explained Andrew Ellis, professor of optical communications at Aston university.
He added: “It is growing so fast, currently at an exponential rate, that, in theory, it could be using all the UK power generation by 2035.”
The scientists are to describe a plan whereby internet access is restricted so that everyone can use it. We haven't read the Book of Revelations lately, but we're sure that's in it somewhere.
It’s all purportedly thanks to the fact that demand on the internet is doubling every four years, which is putting a big strain on energy and telecoms networks.
“We cannot make all that extra power,” continued Ellis, “so we will have to restrict or reduce access, perhaps by metering consumers to they pay for what they use.”
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The scientists claim that optical cables and switches will reach maximum capacity by the end of the decade.
This means infrastructure will need to be swiftly upgraded to prevent internet blackouts in the future.
“It’s the first time we have had to worry about optical fibres actually filling up,” said Andrew Lord, BT’s head of optical access.
“We could expand the network by laying more cables but the economics of that do not work and it would increase power consumption.”
He added: “If we don’t fix this then in 10 years’ time the internet could have to cost more.”