By Edgar Maldonado, 5G FWA Program Manager
More than half of the global population have access to the internet and it is predicted that the devices and equipment required to offer this access will contribute considerably to the electricity consumption within households. The carbon footprint of the internet, our devices and the systems – such as broadband equipment – that support them account for approximately 3.7% of worldwide greenhouse emissions. With 2.7 billion people still to be connected to the internet, the sustainability dilemma will become even more worrying.
Consumer awareness of broadband’s environmental impact is growing, especially among younger generations. It can be expected that these same customers will prefer to have products that address sustainability issues.
Many global operators and companies have already begun rolling out initiatives to decrease their carbon footprint which underlines the vital importance of sustainability and the need to become greener across the telecoms industry.
Slovenia’s Kontron (formerly known as S&T Iskratel), a provider of broadband equipment , is one of those companies in the broadband industry that has already begun to address the electricity-consumption crisis. Kontron has committed to the EU Code of Conduct, ensuring broadband equipment including its XGS-PON OLTs and ONTs, such as the world’s fastest PON OLT, Iskratel Lumia T6 – comply with the strict limits on power consumption. It has also introduced and called for industry wide adoption of energy-efficiency labels to advise of broadband products’ overall power usage. The labels enable operators to make informed decisions when selecting new products that reduce their overall environmental impact.
The Code of Conduct is the framework for credible and comparable power consumption figures. Issued by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, it outlines the limits of power consumption of broadband equipment and specifies the test methodology. As a signatory of the code, Kontron is committed to ensuring that its broadband-access equipment complies with the strict limits on power consumption imposed by the code, and clearly informs customers and users about their usage.
However, Kontron’s sustainability initiatives do not stop there.
Kontron is determined to reduce its impact on the environment, both by introducing environmentally friendly technologies and designing environmentally friendly products. And this starts at the very beginning of the production phase of the products.
Unlike Kontron’s OLTs, its CPE products are manufactured outside of Europe and then they are delivered to its headquarters in Slovenia, ready to be distributed to the customer when needed. This allows Kontron to be flexible in its customisation of CPE to tailor them towards specific customer needs, while avoiding the obstacle of fragile supply chains by ordering them in bulk.
By transporting the CPE in bulk, to be tailored and distributed exclusively from Slovenia to its customers, Kontron found that it can ship almost double the amount of CPE in a container. Along with part of the manufacturing process taking place in Slovenia by local companies, this optimises the transportation cycle of the CPE which ultimately reduces greenhouse gas emissions of the whole operation.
The bulk packaging initiative is also adopted all the way to the installation phase of the CPE. According to customer analysis, Kontron discovered that end-users often disregard additional accessories that are delivered with the CPE, such as cables. Technicians that install the CPE are equipped with a singular box stored with CPE instead of individual ones and a separate box with cables. Therefore, Kontron can provide what the end customer really needs, reducing the quantity of carbon and plastic that is wasted. Valuable space is also freed up in the technician’s vehicle avoiding additional travel to collect more equipment.
In a 100,000-piece delivery, Kontron can avoid up to 270 km of cable waste. With bulk packaging, a 100,000-piece delivery avoids the CO2 equivalent of half of the average home’s energy used in one year, or 16,000 km driven by an average passenger vehicle.
If operators take the time to assess their impact and evaluate their decisions regarding the environment, they can set clear goals for the future and follow strategies to implement positive changes to benefit operators, consumers and the planet.
Edgar holds an M.Sc. in Mobile Communications from Télécom Paris, and a B.Sc. in Electronics from UIS university in his home country Colombia.
He had worked in the past with Alcatel Lucent, Orange and SFR in France. Since joining Kontron, he has been focusing on 5G networks and related products, and has become an avid advocate of environmentally-responsible action.
Edgar is passionate in talking about technology and solutions that make the world a better place.