Dawdling Internet adds more weight on national grid
As a developing country in south Asia, Sri Lanka has suffered many
hardships in the past due to the lack of power generation. The
nationwide blackouts have almost crippled the entire economy of the
country causing great difficulties to development.
As economy develops the electro power requirement also has risen
drastically beyond the limit of what the country’s national power grid
Some modern technologies emerged as a result of the development could
have caused. Since Sri Lanka is highly dependent on the hydro power
generation, power conservation has become a national priority.
Looking to the future...
People in the country are regularly educated about the energy
conservation and public awareness programs are also setup. The Ceylon
electricity board and the Government have taken a number of measures to
conserve the energy by introducing new regulations and rules.
However exclusive of our awareness, a modern technology recently
entered into Sri Lankan household have now become another burden to the
national power grid. It is the ordinary computer that adds more weight
on the national grid and nothing else. There is no argument that the
computer is an essential thing in our society than ever before.
Therefore no restrictions can be applied to limit the usage of
computers in any way. Computers must go on and its growth must be
increased to attain a mass scale of economic benefits. But what is this
Actually it not the computer, it is the quality of Internet services
provided in the country that leads to electricity wastage by increasing
the computer usage time. The discovery would be astonishing to many as
they never imagined such.
Slow broadband Internet services in the country requires more time to
accomplish a task than usual by extending the time a user spends on the
computer. Internet can be fast or slow. It is depend on the service
quality of the service provider.
If we have been provided with low grade broadband Internet service we
need more time to accomplish our tasks on the Internet. Similarly fast
acceptable quality service can accomplish tasks quickly by reducing the
time people spent on computers. More time we spent on computers means we
are compelled to leave the computers in a switched-on state for a longer
period of time which leads to higher electricity consumption.
If we leave the computers switched on we burn more energy in addition
to the power drawn by the computer. In an office environment other
appliances such as air conditioners, fans and lights must be kept on
while using the computers.
Similarly in a residential environment in addition to fans we need
lamps to be turned on in the surrounding especially during the night.
Now we see, using a computer means we burn more energy simultaneously in
addition to the power consumption of the computer.
This new power requirement created by modern technology has given us
a new challenge in power conservation. But this condition cannot be
another burden on the national power grid. Similarly the power
requirement by the computers would not be a reason to disallow computers
in our society either.
There is no doubt the computer penetration in the country must be
increased to meet the growing demands of IT. Certainly it assures to
take our motherland forward in socio economic development in the future.
In this regard no limitations or restrictions can be implemented on the
But the unnecessary power waste created by the computers can be cut
down fully by speeding up the broadband Internet services in the
For better understanding how this slow-speed broadband Internet would
impact on the national power grid we need to understand the
characteristics of Internet and its technicalities.
Broadband Internet is the next generation access method people use to
access the Internet at faster speeds. Like how computers were developed
from slow processing power to high processing power CPUs, Internet
platform is also in a continues evolution. Requirement of fast Internet
services grows rapidly as many services shifted towards the Internet
platform from authentic methods. This service migration pushes the
Internet further by increasing its transfer speeds beyond the limits we
But, most of broadband Internet services in Sri Lanka have failed to
deliver the benefits of high speed Internet to the society as yet. As
mentioned earlier the efficiency of the Internet really depends on the
speed of the service. If the service is slow and sluggish we require
more time to complete each and every task we undertake on the Internet.
Presently in Sri Lanka the majority of broadband services are in the
range of entry broadband speed such as 512kbps.
The reality is, this capacity would be inadequate to handle
bandwidth-hungry applications found on the Internet nowadays. On the
other hand the average speeds found in these particular services are too
slow especially during the peak hours.
Under this circumstance the time we spend on the Internet would
increase significantly. For instance if we pick a 50MB file from the
Internet to download it will take approximately 1 hour and 11 minutes to
complete under the prevailing service quality in some broadband
But if we download the same file at the speed of 900 kbps it can be
completed within 7 minutes. Here we need to keep the computer switched
on and running for an additional 64 minutes than usual if the service
provided is slow and poor. The question is how much of electricity we
waste daily on a mass scale due to the substandard broadband Internet
services in the country.
The calculation would be very simple. A basic home computer with 15
inch CRT monitor attached would consume approximately 150 Watts under
the normal operating condition.
If we assume 1000 users are downloading the same file of 50MB at the
speed of 900kbps their consumption will only be 17.5 kWh. Similarly if
we download the same file at the speed of 100kbps it would consume
approximately 177.5 kWh. We waste about 160 kWh from the national
electricity gird for nothing. The actual result would be more disturbing
to be noticed if we take the real statistics for the calculations.
However this energy wastage can be minimised by providing a proper
standard high speed broadband Internet in the country.
If provided, the above file can be downloaded within 7 minutes in
1Mbps service. Just compare the time and the energy we save if we have
been provided with the real high speed Internet services in the country.
If underestimated, this situation can lead to a level of national
cerise. If such condition triggers in the country it will directly
impact on the growth of IT industry. As a developing nation this is
something we wouldn’t want to happen.
We must allow IT to grow effortlessly and all barricades must be
identified and removed. But the power conservation in the country would
not be affected by the unregulated Internet services. More or less,
power conservation is a national priority. And it is a national asset
too. Therefore we should not let one industry or technology to waste
national resources for no purpose.
The quality of the broadband Internet service in the country must be
enhanced to proper broadband standards with immediate effect. Further to
allow users to accomplish their tasks immediately over the Internet all
existing broadband services below 900kbps bandwidth must be upgraded to
1Mbps and should be recognised as the minimum national broadband
standard in Sri Lanka.
Electricity is a national asset that belongs to citizens. Therefore
telecommunication companies must be very careful not to misuse the
national electricity to fulfill their commercial desires in the future.
If speeded up, broadband Internet would become a promising technology
in the development of the economy. Otherwise it will become another
burden to the economy.