6 Things That Will Change the Internet in 2023

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Last Updated: Dec 6, 2022 | Published: Dec 6, 2022
A young woman sits at a table while typing on her laptop.
The internet continues to evolve, affecting users, businesses, media, and more. (Image: Shutterstock)

From the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) to policy changes about net neutrality, 2022 was an eventful year for the internet industry. New events, laws, guidelines, and features shape the industry every year, which will continue as next year comes around. If you’re curious about where the internet is headed, here are six things that will change the digital landscape in 2023.

Reducing Our Carbon Footprint With Sustainable Technology

We all know activities such as burning fossil fuels are bad for the environment, but the digital carbon footprint tends to go under the radar. According to a recent report by the IEA, each internet data center and transmission network accounts for 1 percent of global electricity use. Given the rise of internet users, it might be time for broadband companies and institutions to become sustainable.

Some organizations, such as the Green Web Foundation, have created energy-efficient websites and processes. Its vision is to develop a fossil-free internet by 2030. Data transmission networks have also started to become more energy-efficient. Fixed-line data transmission electricity usage has been halved in recent times.

As public interest in sustainable internet grows, it’s likely to lead to more innovative ways to reduce digital services’ carbon footprint. Users can estimate the carbon footprint of their webpage and find out how they can participate in a greener internet.

ISPs Are Required to Display Broadband Labels

One change that has already shaken up the broadband industry is the new rules by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC): All internet service providers need to display labels that show key facts about their plans and products. The aim is to increase transparency for customers when they shop for internet plans.

The label should be easy to read and displayed on the web page where users buy internet plans. It shouldn’t be hidden behind multiple clicks. The labels are similar to nutritional labels we see on food products and should include information such as internet speed, data caps, and monthly price. The FCC expects that these new rules will reduce customer dissatisfaction over junk costs and hidden fees that aren’t clearly outlined in service contracts.

After these new rules get approved under the Paperwork Reduction Act, the ISPs have six months to comply. Some small ISPs with 100,000 or fewer subscribers will be allowed a year to comply with these new rules. Regardless of when these rules get fully implemented, ISPs will have to revisit how they display pricing on their websites and advertisements.

5G Home Internet Will Decrease the Digital Divide

5G repeater tower against the blue sky
5G could be a game changer for the internet industry. (Image: Shutterstock)

In 2023, expect a boom in 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) services, including 5G home internet. According to a study by Juniper Research, the total revenue from 5G FWA is on track to rise from $515 million in 2022 to $2.5 billion in 2023.

As 5G home internet becomes more capable, it will challenge wired connections, such as fiber internet. It will offer competitive pricing as well. This means ISPs might have to review their pricing models for their wired internet connections.

One of the advantages for ISPs is that 5G home internet offers an opportunity to attract new customers. This opens an entirely new market for internet providers. For example, Verizon expects to add 4 to 5 million fixed wireless customers by the end of 2025. Although it will take time for 5G to become mainstream, the stage is set for it to revolutionize the internet and bridge the digital divide.

Starlink Internet Could Cause Disruption

Starlink has been making waves in the telecom and broadband industry since it launched its beta program in 2020. It has faced some hurdles along the way, but the coming year could prove Starlink as a game changer for the industry. Starlink has a decent footprint around the globe, but for it to truly challenge other types of internet, it needs to deliver better speeds and coverage.

Starlink is a satellite internet service operated by SpaceX, which was founded by Elon Musk. Last year, Musk tweeted that Starlink would double its speeds to 300 Mbps and reduce network latency to 20 milliseconds. Although Starlink has yet to achieve these goals, it has paved the way for its future by launching thousands of satellites in the last two years and generating a lot of public interest. Next year, Starlink plans on talking to airliners to make high-speed internet available to airline passengers.

In 2022, Starlink began taking reservations for its internet services, but the company has had to push wait times from late 2022 to early 2023. When Starlink gets its national rollout going, it could cause major disruption in the internet industry in 2023.

Blockchain Technology Could Be the Future of the Internet

Cryptocurrency as a means of payment
Blockchain technology could be the foundation of Internet 3.0. (Image: Shutterstock)

One of the growing concerns for internet users is the threat to online privacy and security issues. For example, a lot of users’ sensitive information is captured and retained by online platforms. That’s where blockchain technology comes in. Blockchain has the potential to solve issues, such as data control and data privacy scandals, through its tamper-proof and decentralized structure.

Some believe blockchain will be the basis for the next version of the internet, Web 3.0, and we could start seeing that as early as 2023. In order to mitigate customer concerns, an increasing number of online platforms are using blockchain technology. Blockchain uses cryptographic hashing to make digital tractions irreversible and transparent, helping minimize security and privacy concerns.

The potential applications of blockchain technology for the internet are limitless. Several online retailers have already adopted blockchain-backed wallet programs to sell their products or services. New laws related to blockchain and cryptocurrency are also expected to be passed in 2023, including a law in New York that would recognize the use of blockchain technology in commerce. Web 3.0 is an evolving ecosystem, but there’s been a considerable surge in interest. As we continue to build blockchain infrastructure and pass the laws to support it, the future of Web 3.0 looks bright.

Artificial Intelligence’s Steady Takeover

The applications of artificial intelligence (AI) are limitless, and as machines get better at learning and processing information, we will see more of AI in the digital space, including the internet.

We‘ve already seen WordPress plugins that use machine learning and AI. As we step into 2023, we’ll see AI in other components of the internet, including e-commerce and content creation. Companies such as Firedrop and Grid are working on AI algorithms to develop websites by automating processes and helping predict visitor intent.

In the e-commerce space, AI is used to deliver a personalized experience for shoppers. For example, new advancements in image recognition allow virtual shipping assistants to guide customers through their online shopping experience. AI is also set to play a pivotal role in the metaverse, which some consider the future of the internet.