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Sustainable internet options: Fiber is the eco-friendly choice

Green keyboard button with an image of a leaf on it, representing sustainable internet

Most of us use the Internet on a daily basis, but have you ever considered the impact our individual online habits might have on the environment?

The Internet requires enormous amounts of infrastructure and energy to operate, and some forecasts estimate that information and communications technology will account for as much as 21% of all electricity use by 2030.

Given this staggering statistic, it’s worth considering how we can implement more sustainable internet practices to reduce our overall carbon footprint. On an individual level, this might mean opting for a search engine with an eco mission like Ecosia.org, but it could also mean looking for a more sustainable internet provider.

Fiber-optic networks: The sustainable internet choice

There are several types of internet connections available today, but the most common are cable and fiber-optic networks, which are widely available and deliver fast speeds. However, when it comes to cable vs. fiber internet, the latter is significantly more eco-friendly as it uses more sustainable materials and less energy in manufacturing.

Fiber-optic cables are made of silicon dioxide, an extremely common element found in sand, rocks and clay. Not only is this raw material abundant and unlikely to run out, but it’s also easy to access and extract with minimal impact on the environment. On the other hand, cable networks rely on copper cables to transmit internet signals, and copper mining is extremely detrimental to local habitats, producing huge amounts of waste.

Once it’s installed, fiber-optic network infrastructure also uses less energy than its cable counterparts. A cable network requires around 3.5 watts to transmit data 100 meters, while a fiber network uses less than 1 watt to send the same data 300 meters. In data centers and other locations where huge amounts of data are being transferred, these energy savings can be substantial.

Fiber networks are also more durable and require less maintenance than copper, which means fewer resources are needed for their upkeep, and they can often be used for 25 years or more without recabling as opposed to copper cable which can begin to deteriorate in as little as five years.

Other benefits of fiber internet

As you can see, fiber networks themselves are more eco-friendly than copper, and a fast, reliable fiber internet connection can facilitate sustainable changes in other industries as well.

For instance, fiber internet delivers speeds up to 1 Gbps, allowing for more seamless remote work and higher-quality video conferencing with no interruptions. The average commuter with a one-hour drive to work produces 3.2 tons of carbon per year, but with the adoption of faster, more reliable internet, companies are more likely to realize the benefits of employees working from home, resulting in fewer commuters and fewer auto emissions.

The same holds true in the healthcare industry, where more patients are using telehealth visits to meet with their doctors remotely, and in education, where many students are participating in remote learning. Not only does fast, reliable internet make these services more accessible to people who lack transportation, but it offers an alternative to driving.

Ting Internet offers fiber internet access, the most eco-friendly internet option available today, and this technology is just as beneficial for home use as it is for large businesses. With super-fast speeds, high bandwidth and unbeatable reliability, fiber allows you to make the most of the Internet, whether you’re using it for work, play or anything in between.