As environmental awareness and climate change continues to concern the world at large, we all look for ways that we can do our part. Since internet is something that most people have, it makes sense that we should be paying attention to whether our internet is environmentally friendly. So, which ISPs are best for the environment?
What Does Environmentally Friendly Internet Look Like?
Let’s start by looking at what it takes to be an environmentally friendly ISP. ISPs who demonstrate concern for the environment will do any or all of the following:
- Encourage corporate-wide environmental measures
- Use sustainable materials wherever possible
- Actively work with environmental groups to preserve the environment
- Uses renewable energy sources
Most Environmentally Friendly Types
The standard types of internet are DSL, cable, satellite, and fiber. Fiber internet is the newest, but it is also the least available. Here is our breakdown of each type in terms of environmental friendliness.
- Satellite: Satellite is used in remote locations where other internet options are not available. It is, however, very dangerous to the environment. Satellites are launched into space with rockets, which damage the ozone. They also create litter within space by leaving excess debris that cannot be recovered.
- DSL: DSL is good in that it makes use of wires that have already been in place, so there does not need to be extra wires run to make it happen, most of the time. Unfortunately, when the wires are run, they use copper. Copper mining is extremely bad for the environmental, producing hazardous chemicals and toxic by-products.
- Cable: Cable internet also can use cable connections that already exist. New connections also use copper wires, just like DSL. The environmental consequences of copper mining also can poison the ecosystem where the copper is mined and create acid rain.
- Fiber: The most environmentally friendly option for internet is fiber. Fiber’s effect on the environment is very minimal. Fiber optic cables are primarily made up of glass created from Silicon Dioxide. This is one of the most common elements on the planet and is found in sand, rocks, clay, and other places as well. It is also durable and does not require repair like other forms of internet. You also do not need a modem with fiber, since they use an ONT box. That means, you only need a router, like a Verizon router if you have Verizon FiOS or a Frontier router for Frontier FiOS.
Environmentally Friendly ISPs
The availability of environmentally friendly ISPs is entirely dependent on your location. In the United States, there are not generally environmentally friendly ISPs, but there are fiber companies that are better for the environment. These include:
- Verizon FiOS
- Frontier FiOS
- AT&T Fiber
- CenturyLink Fiber
There are also local fiber internet service providers in smaller areas. Mostly, the companies listed above do not take any environmentally positive actions, but they do supply fiber. More local ISPs might do more to reduce their carbon footprint.
In the UK and elsewhere, there are ISPs who are actively working toward helping the environment. The ISPs in the UK that are environmentally friendly include:
- Green ISP
- Sky Digital
The availably of any of these ISPs depends a lot on your location, so you will need to see what ISPs are able to provide you with service.
If you are hoping to move toward an ISP that is better for the environment, that is a great first step. Fiber, unfortunately, is not widely available. Because it relies on fiber optic cables that have not been previously run, the cables will have to be run to your house from the closest connecting point. This is expensive, so it is not a decision that can be made lightly. Once set up, however, you will not only be making environmentally-positive decisions, but you will also have the fastest form of internet that you can get.
If fiber isn’t an option for you, look at the ISPs that are local to you. Look for smaller companies when possible and ask them about their environmental practices. Knowing who you are working with is a great way to start your journey toward environmentally friendly internet.
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