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Wireless comms 'under threat' from climate change

Laugh now, but one Wi-Fi-less day you'll be sorry
Laugh now, but one Wi-Fi-less day you'll be sorry

A government report published today warns that climate change could damage the UK's wireless communications infrastructure.

It may sound like a last-ditch attempt to get us on board with wind farms, but the secretary of state for the environment, Caroline Spelman, insists that our communications could be under threat.

"If climate change threatens the quality of your signal, or you can't get it because of extreme fluctuations in temperature, then you will be disadvantaged, which is why we must address the question," she said.

The report comes from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), which found that future high temperatures could reduce the quality and range of the UK's wireless signal, affecting television broadcasts and mobile signal, among other things.

Save our comms

The primary focus of the report is on how the government can strengthen the UK's infrastructure (wires and cables and so on) to lessen the impact of the changing weather.

Other problems we could face in the UK include flood damage to underground cables, overhead line damage due to falling trees and changes in the UK's flora and fauna that could even change the way radio waves travel through the air.

Greenpeace, naturally, is all over this. Chief policy adviser Ruth Davis said: "What this report reminds us is that sudden shifts in global climate will affect our world and our daily lives in chaotic and unusual ways.

"The UK will not be immune, and the government's discovery that one of the most important sectors for the UK's economic recovery – electronic communications – could be affected by climate change, shows just how vital it is for our prosperity that we curb emissions now."

Update: All mentions of Wi-Fi in this article have been amended.

Via The Guardian

News Editor (UK)

It's a perpetual challenge among the TechRadar staff to send Kate (Twitter, Google+) a link to something interesting on the internet that she hasn't already seen. As TechRadar's News Editor (UK), she's constantly on the hunt for top news and intriguing stories to feed your gadget lust. And having been immersed in the world of tech and tech rumours for more than six years, she can spot a photoshopped iPhone 8 image from 20 paces.