Conservation of Resources, Telecommunications, and Microprocessors

Stuart L. Meyer

DOI: 10.2190/807J-D180-013N-V12M


The energy involved in the substitution of telecommunications for travel is investigated. For the foreseeable future, the energy cost is very dependent on the bandwidth of the telecommunication mode used and may be non-trivial for certain widely-awaited broadband services. The features of narrow-band telecommunications systems are discussed and it is shown that they can be minimally-sufficient for some applications. It is further shown how the natural incorporation of microprocessors as substitutes for random logic leads to a complete elimination of any distinction between terminals for communications and terminals for dispersed data processing. This may have implications for certain policy questions now before the Federal Communications Commission.

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