Thoughts on Green Telecom

April 26th, 2013 by · 7 Comments

This is a guest post by Mia Henderson, Blogger at

The telecom industry shoulders an unspoken responsibility for keeping our modern society in working order. Granted its prevalence and necessity in nearly every corner of the earth, it’s somewhat surprising to consider the bounded scope of professionals who have a true understanding and appreciation of the industry. Even smaller than that is the number of professionals who realize what incredible steps the telecom industry has taken to improve our society’s prosperity – and more particularly what it’s done to shape our society’s sustainable outlook.

Many environmental organizations harp on hardline figures when discussing the effects that the telecom industry has had on nature to date. It takes a quite a bit of fuel to operate a traditional mobile tower. Multiply that “quite a bit” by the amount of towers sprawled across our planet, and you’ll get a pretty grating number.

But it’s facts like these that distort the true ecological footprint of the telecom industry. If it weren’t for telephone and internet communication, we wouldn’t have the infrastructural power to congregate and expand the exact same environmental groups that criticize the telecommunications industry. Much can be said for telecom as a platform for our planet to evolve into a more eco-conscious version of itself.

In the coming years, the outlook is only becoming brighter and greener. India’s massive telecom industry has been an insightful case study for researchers and professionals looking to make green telecom as pervasive as cell phones and computers.  In West Bengal, towers have been converted to operate with assistance from renewable materials such as sunlight. The results have been phenomenal, scaling back 1,000 liters of diesel fuel per month and approximately 3,000 kg of CO2 per month.

From an international vantage point, the GreenTouch initiative is making headlines for its projects that can be implemented anywhere on the map. Its Bit-Interleaved Passive Optical Network has been designed to increase energy efficiency for in-home fiber optic networks by a factor of 30. If that weren’t enough, the collective has also developed what it calls the Large Scale Antenna System, which has been in use since 2011 as a simple, yet effective method for radio broadcasts to reduce their requisite power demands.

Plainly put, international telecom is one of our pivotal industries for fostering sustainability. So many of our ecological efforts hinge on our ability to communicate across distances, but the whole story expands beyond our communicative capabilities and into the actual structure and composition of our networks. Surely, with the acknowledged value of sustainability on a global scale, it won’t be long before other industries follow the Eco-friendly example of the telecom sphere.


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