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The Internet Eats Up Less Energy Than You Might Think

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Tracking the Internet's energy consumption globally.

The giant tech companies with their power-hungry, football-field-size datacenters are not the environmental villains they are sometimes portrayed to be on social media and elsewhere, according to a new analysis.

Credit: Getty Images

An analysis by two scientists found claims about the Internet's energy consumption are exaggerated by well-intentioned scientists who seldom account for the pace of energy efficiency advancements and how digital systems work.

The researchers cite as examples international network operators Telefonica and Cogent's published data traffic and energy use statistics for 2020: Telefonica managed a 45% gain in network traffic with no boost in energy consumption, while Cogent's electricity use dropped 21% as traffic rose 38%.

The researchers also criticized the practice of examining one high-growth sector of the technology industry and assuming proportional industry-wide growth of electricity use.

From The New York Times
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Abstracts Copyright © 2021 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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