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ICANN to shut down internet for one hour

The internet administrator has announced the internet is to be temporarily switched off for 'Web-Off Hour' at noon, BST
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

The main domain servers and related infrastructure controlling the internet will be powered down for one hour on Tuesday at 12pm, British Summer Time.

ICANN, the body responsible for maintaining the registry of domain names and IP addresses, announced on Tuesday that it would effectively turn off the internet in order to gauge the ecological impact of such a move.

The decision follows the success of the recently observed "Earth Hour", in which people around the globe turned off their lights for one hour in a gesture towards saving energy.

Unlike Earth Hour, ICANN's "Web-Off Hour" will not operate on a rolling basis according to time-zone differences around the world. ICANN itself is based in California, and its decision to turn off the internet there at 4am means that the UK will be without access for one hour starting at noon, British Summer Time.

The time of 4am was chosen in order to cause minimal disruption to the Californian economy, given the US's current financial downturn, but the impact on the rest of the world will have to be evaluated after the fact, said ICANN.

"The earth has been around for billions of years, but the internet has only been in existence for decades," reasoned ICANN spokesperson Yu Haveena Lough on Monday. Speaking to ZDNet.co.uk, Lough pointed to the vast energy consumption of server farms and personal computers, and suggested that the total energy saved during Web-Off Hour might be equivalent to that saved by pulling almost 956,003 SUVs off the road for a year and three-quarters.

ICANN's move is the latest in a string of "green IT" announcements made in recent years, as the technology industry strives to reduce its negative impact on global ecology.

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