Science and Tech


Internet Infrastructure Could Be Underwater Within The Next 15 Years

A new study shows that rising sea levels could flood internet infrastructure along U.S coasts.
Posted at 1:06 PM, Jul 17, 2018

The internet could drown within the next 15 years. And we don't mean some kind of virus. 

new study shows that coastal internet infrastructure — things like fiber optic cables — could be underwater because of the world's rising sea levels. 

Researchers mapped out where internet infrastructure is located on U.S. coasts and combined that with data on expected future sea levels. 

And the results were a little scary. Much of the coastal internet infrastructure — thousands of miles of fiber optic cables, data transfer stations and power stations — could be under water in coming years. 

There are deep sea cables that carry data and are made to be underwater, but the copper wires and power stations aren't built that way. 

So what's the plan to save the internet? NPR reports that some internet service providers are already thinking about the risks of flooding. 

AT&T and Verizon reportedly are both starting to use more flood-resilient cables. And Verizon says it's elevating some of its power stations in areas that are prone to flooding. 

One author of the study told NPR that upgrading the infrastructure is a good strategy, but companies may need to start rethinking "the way data flows through their networks."