01 Architecture Essays

Back to the Future – No Mobile Towers

Let's clean up this ecological pollution

By 2030 the ubiquitous mobile towers will be as anachronistic as candle-lit homes. They are ugly, expensive, take up precious space, consume increasingly dear power and fuel and pollute the environment for decades.

They only exist because internet access is not available at high bandwidth everywhere. But that will not be the case for long. Satellites and their radio transponders are getting cheaper and more powerful by the day. The amount of information compressed into radio waves is getting to nuclear fusion levels (just joking). Soon, communication satellites will cover the entire surface of the Earth with medium, high and super-high-speed internet access that will convey all communications and digital content. Most mobiles will communicate directly via satellites. To reduce battery consumption they will be able to switch to using concentrator dish antennae where available, yet these will be minimal and won’t use towers. Not that satellite dishes are beautiful, but they are far better than mobile towers. The national security concerns of governments that require control of communications geographically will be addressed by new standards that will follow the technology.

The world’s clutter will reduce and so will pollution as it will take less energy to make, launch and power a satellite with its transponders than for the equal capacity of terrestrial towers, antennae and cables.

Telecommunication companies in India should invest in R&D with the Indian Space Research Organization and private firms and be the first in the world to start eliminating mobile towers on a mass scale. It will also help make them total digital life providers and transcend the current cut-throat business phase.

It will be a big step towards reversing our ravages and restoring pristine nature. It is part of my dream where the world is wiped clean of billboards, electricity transmission towers and mobile towers.


Shashi on LinkedIn

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