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Earth Day and the Next-Generation Network

April 23, 2010 - 1 Comment

Like most, my thoughts today, this 40th anniversary of Earth Day, turn to the state of the planet and our environment. We in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry share a responsibility to not only develop products in environmentally responsible ways, but also to innovate and create solutions that will enable other industries to do the same.

Service Providers also hold a unique position when it comes to environmental sustainability. SPs can impact the environment twice – by operating their own businesses and networks in a Green fashion, and by providing the ICT services that will enable other enterprises to minimize their greenhouse gas emissions.  Products such as the Cisco ASR 9000 and CRS-3, which were designed and built with efficiency in mind, serve to reduce the energy used within the network.  And services such as WebEx, TelePresence, and other communications and collaboration technologies work to reduce travel, reduce costs, and improve productivity and 

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) recognizes the impact the ICT industry can have on the environment and has been a leader in fostering the development and deployment of energy-efficient next-generation networks. Its 2008 report on “NGNs and Energy Efficiency” put the industry on notice by stating that “Global migration to Next-Generation Networks (NGNs) could bring about a substantial reduction in power consumption and thereby reduce the telecommunication sector’s contribution to global warming.”

The continued work of the ITU’s Focus Group on ICTs and Climate Change further formalized the effort and established the importance of ICT in the worldwide battle against global warming.

At the Broadband Forum’s recent Broadband Network Energy Efficiency Summit in Paris, the ITU joined with other leading standards bodies like ATIS, ETSI, GeSI, and others to unify and promote energy efficiency standards across the ICT industry.

Malcolm Johnson, Director of Telecommunication Standardization Bureau at the ITU-T, said of the conference: “The ICT industry is already very responsible and proactive in terms of its own carbon footprint and using ICTs to combat climate change in all sectors, such as empowering the potential impact of travel reductions on the carbon footprint, and it’s very important for the industry to be passing on the message of these dematerialization benefits.”

ITU Secretary-General Dr. Hamadoun I. Touré, speaking at the GSMA’s Mobile World Congress in February, said “New standards being developed within ITU…can reduce network and data centre power consumption by up to 40%. As the Secretary-General of ITU, the UN specialized agency dedicated to ICTs, I am firmly committed to pursuing every possible avenue which will lead to reduced emissions and a greener planet.”

Cisco is proud to partner with the ITU, ATIS, ETSI, and other standards bodies and NGOs to promote the effort to establish a greener, more environmentally sustainable ICT industry. Our long-standing commitment to environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility is part of our core values and is evidenced daily by our solutions, our business practices, and our employee activism.

Happy Earth Day, everyone!

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  1. With initiatives like this, I feel more optimistic that there is definitely hope for next generations.