Data demand driven by online video will see internet cables ‘hit limit’ by 2020

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Data demand driven by online video will see internet cables ‘hit limit

Demand for data which has been driven by the surge in online video consumption could see internet cables reach capacity within the next five years, according to experts.

The Sunday Times reports that scientists will discuss pressures on the internet — mainly surging power demands and capacity to carry data – at the ‘Capacity Crunch’ conference next week.

Andrew Ellis, professor of optical communications at Aston University will highlight the implications of internet demand on Britain’s power supply.

He claims that data storage and transmission on the internet are already consuming at least eight per cent and as much as 16 per cent of Britain’s power. This is doubling every four years and is expanding so fast that, in theory, it could consume the nation’s entire power supply by 2035.

“We cannot make all that extra power, so we will have to restrict or reduce access, perhaps by metering consumers so they pay for what they use,” Ellis explained.

Andrew Lord, head of optical access at BT, said this the first time it has had to worry about optical wires “filling up” with data.

The economics of expanding the network by laying more cables “do not work” and would increase power consumption.

“New cables laid now could fill in a year or two of being installed, which is far too short,” he said. “If we don’t fix this then in 10 years’ time the internet could have to cost more.”

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