That ticking sound you hear isn’t necessarily a bomb waiting to go off, but it is a reminder that the meter will read significantly higher numbers when mobile broadband becomes widespread. It still costs energy and money to provide cellular access and connectivity, and the very nature of broadband in a mobile form, with its streaming video and Flash-based website access, means that it’s the poster boy for the always-on society, with an always-spiraling energy bill as well.
ABI Research, a firm out of the U.K. known for tracking trends, has come out with a report urging mobile operators to use WiMAX, neighborhood Wi-Fi hotspots, and other wide-range solutions. An ABI survey found that WCDMA lagged far behind in bang for the buck and that WiMAX was twice as cost-effective and Wi-Fi was 50 times as cost-effective as poor old cellular tech.
The study las reported that the increase in mobile broadband use will bring with it a corresponding rise in total energy consumption, to the tune of 124.4 billion KWh in 2011, up from 42.8 billion in 2005. That’s a large increase, although not as horrendous as many once believed.
The bottom line for mobile broadband consumers seems to be that the number of ways that you can connect is about to increase. Whether we have to foot a larger bill for that remains to be seen.