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How Climate Change Can Kill the Internet


Low-lying areas along the East Coast of the United States are already seeing the results of climate change frequently. Water levels are encroaching on streets and sidewalks during high tides, and flooding during storms is happening more often. That flooding is exacerbated by more frequent storms.

It’s become bad enough that during a recent visit to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. I had to walk to dinner through ankle-deep water caused by the tides from a full moon. Meanwhile, climate change is melting ice at the poles, causing sea levels to rise even more.

So what does all of this have to do with the internet? Actually, it has to do with the fiber that the internet uses to carry the data. In a number of major metropolitan areas, especially along the East Coast–but also in places along the Gulf Coast–water levels are already getting high enough to threaten the underground fiber installations that carry the internet’s traffic. Internet transmission equipment is at risk

While water levels won’t hurt the fiber bundles themselves–they’re well-protected, after all–what the water will hurt is the transmission equipment that supports the fiber. Unless the equipment is designed to work in a wet environment, that part of the […]

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