A wireless Internet service that lets people download a movie in one sitting from the comfort of their home or office would cut the number of people who die from internet-related diseases by as much as a third, according to a new study.
The study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE, says wireless Internet access could save as many as 3 million lives each year.
The research team, led by Dr. Rakesh Khosla of Stanford University, analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2009 to 2011 and found that in that period, people aged 40 to 74 were twice as likely to die from heart disease and cancer than people over 65.
Khosla says wireless internet could help the world avoid an internet-driven pandemic by offering users an easy and convenient way to connect to a network that provides the speed, capacity and reliability needed to deliver information and video to a wide audience.
The study authors also note that wireless Internet is a “safer” form of connectivity than wired internet.
The researchers say wireless internet offers a much more reliable and convenient option for people to access content, because of the increased bandwidth and lower latency of a wireless connection.
But, they caution that wireless internet is only a part of the picture.
It is important that policymakers and consumers understand how the technology works and how to secure their networks, says study co-author Dr. Michael Scholz of Stanford’s Center for Health Security and Technology.
“The wireless Internet needs to be used to deliver the healthiest internet available,” he says.
“If we don’t, we’ll see more people die.”
The wireless internet service will likely be used primarily by people who need access to an Internet connection to do tasks such as browse websites or watch video.
Wireless Internet services also could be used by those with other health conditions that could require access to the Internet.
But the researchers say the potential benefits are clear.
“Our study provides a compelling case for the use of wireless internet for delivering the health benefits of wireless broadband,” says Dr. Sarah Segal of the University of Southern California.