How can telecoms contribute to the global ‘sustainability goals’?

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Last year, the UN General Assembly President, in her opening speech warned us that there are only 11 years left to prevent irreversible damage from Climate Change. The effects of global warming and unsustainable practices have created serious doubts over the continued existence of mankind. Although Telecom sector has historically remained outside the conversation of sustainable development, we see a growing mandate for operators to reduce GHG emissions and deliver a cleaner and greener telecom footprint.

Why should the telcos care?

The pressure to improve its sustainable performance is not uncalled for. Currently, the sector consumes between 2 – 3% of global energy. However, by 2025, we expect 20 percent of world’s electricity to be consumed in creation and transportation of data. This shift is already happening –  global telecom sector experienced an increase in energy consumption of 30 percent and carbon emissions of 17 percent between 2010 and 2015.

5G Standards to the rescue?

The sector sees 5G as an opportunity to drive sustainability – 3GPP’s 5G specification calls for a 90 percent reduction in energy use – however, the jury is still out on just whether existing technologies will be able to deliver on this promise.

A primary tenet of a 5G eco-system is a shift towards an all-fiber network, away from legacy copper plants. This will be a significant move towards sustainability and reducing GHG emissions. To give a perspective, manufacturing a 200-foot length of copper wire produces around 1,000 kgCO2 e. Creating the equivalent length of fibre optic cable produces just 0.06 kgCO2 e, less than 0.01% of the emissions associated with copper.

The time to act is now!

Taking care of our environment is urgent and we have to do it on many fronts. At STL, we take our commitment to our planet and our people seriously and as data network innovators, it is our primary objective to adopt and enable sustainable practices for our customers.

  • Fibre is 85% more efficient in terms of energy consumption per customer, compared to copper based access technologies. By improvement in precision manufacturing and deployment of data analytics to manufacturing process, STL has been further able to reduce its environmental footprint. Our cable manufacturing facilities are first in India to be “zero waste to landfill” certified, and we contribute positively to the circular economy.
  • While not all copper cables can be replaced by optic fiber, we are continuously looking at ways to reduce our dependence on non-renewable sources, especially plastics. Since long, industry has used plastic based cross-fillers to prevent cross-talk between twisted pairs of copper data cables. Our latest innovation in the field of green cabling completely eradicates the need for this filler, resulting in a leaner and greener design. In addition to preventing usage of plastic, our design also enables better air flow in tightly-packed ducts, improving air-flow and reducing overall power consumption in a data center environment
  • The way in which a telecommunications company operates and deploys its network also has an enormous influence on its energy and carbon emissions performance. By extending the geographic reach of fiber based access networks, our network design solutions help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions up to additional 50 percent.

At STL, we are marrying sustainability with business profitability, and are serious about ensuring that our business partners are equally invested in creating a sustainable future.

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