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During the Mobile World Congress 2022, IDATE Digiworld organized a conference on the fiber network impact on carbon footprint reduction. During this event, technology, industrial and public sectors leaders had the opportunity to discuss and share their perspective on how the development of fiber networks can, in the future, contribute to the worldwide CO2 reduction footprint. This forum was a great opportunity for all stakeholders in the optical industry, the telecom players as well as various other industries around the world, to explain how they cooperate and promote together green, sustainable development.

Since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015, an increasing number of countries and enterprises have committed to achieving carbon neutrality, and a series of actions have been taken to mitigate climate change. Today, green development is being given top priority.

  • Against this backdrop, how can the ICT industry, as the provider of network connections and foundation for developing green digital economy, offer more value to social transformation?
  • All-optical networks are the most energy-saving and efficient among all ICT infrastructure networks. How should we keep innovating and leading the development of the communications industry, and enable more industries to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Based on these questions, IDATE DigiWorld has invited EU governments, industry partners, and global leading operators to discuss the opportunities and challenges for the optical industry, as well as how to build green, all-optical network infrastructure for the future. IDATE also released the industry’s first fiber sustainability white paper “Fiber for a sustainable future”.

The Director General of ETNO, Lise Fuhr gave the Keynote Speech of forum. She highlight the impact of regulation, policies on telecom industry to promote the Sustainable Development Goals : “ On policy, we must make sure that the enabling potential of ICT and of the telecom networks, in particular, is fully recognized from EU funds to national recovery funds, driving demand in ICT means helping to accelerate the ways to net zero.”

Notably, fiber is the most energy efficient technology, offering the lowest CO2 footprint. Emerging fiber technologies have the potential to amplify the fiber environment’s positive effects to enable operators to realize Net Zero Emissions Network goals. During the summit, three green telecom operators spoke about their company’s network strategies and green network use cases by leveraging various fiber related technologies, including OTN, OXC, FTTH et al.

Globe Telecom’s CSO, Maria Yolanda Crisanto, presented how the company is using green technologies to simplify fixed access sites and offer green home connectivity through optical access networks, which are estimated to save 64,5kWh per year, the equivalent of saving 500 trees. At the same time, the adoption of 70 sets of edge OTN and OXC on its transport network will help operator to reduce carbon emissions by 116 tons per year by using 1,68KWh of power per year. Green Technologies Operation in Optical Network will enable operators to reduce CO2 emissions by 56.6 K tons by 2030.

Rain South Africa’s Director of Transmission, Dave Kruger, describes the operator’s simplified optical network for 5G services that provides ultra-broadband access – up to 200G over all links- and is easy to expand. With the adoption of OXC Application in rain 5G Tx Networt, operator enable to reduce Power consumption 30%, reduce space by 67% and shorten deployment period by 80%.

MTN’s GM of Transport & OSS, Lloyd Mphahlele, highlights the impact of different fiber technologies to help the operator to reach its Net Zero target by 2040. The OTN Technology maximizes fiber value while reducing 80% of fiber use and 50% of power consumption. The OXC deployment in 3 core sites enabled operator to save 120,000 KWh per year, equivalent to saving 2500 trees. FTTH provides high speed while durable for long-term evolution.

The Vice Chair of BEREC and President EETT Konstantinos Masselos talk about the implementation of Paris agreement needs economic and social transformation. Communication network, especially Fiber broadband network, will contribute significantly. “ Fiber optics are the most technological secure and energy efficient solution for the development of new generation network and are the key for aligning the objectives”

The Vice President Huawei , Richard Jin, called for fully leverage fiber enabling network solutions to foster green development of our society: “Through the E2E all-optical target network solution , including Green Architecture , Green Site and Green Operation, we can achieve “more bits, less watts” for low carbon in ICT industry, and enable the digitalization and eventually green development of whole society.”

During the panel discussion, the general director of ECTA Luc Hindryckx see the fiber transition is the major trends of telecom sector across all the European member countries , as he mentioned : “Fundamentally, all member countries are committed and also asking for good and quick transition to fiber because fiber is more efficient. Fiber is of course less energy consumption, so there we see that it reduce a lot, and let us not forget that all this trend is somehow embedded in regulatory framework for 20 year.”

In conclusion, we all recognized the impact of Fibre networks when tackling the needed environmental transition. Use of FTTx technologies will reduce CO2 footprint by saving energy and better monitoring heating system and water supply. We also all recognize that fibre networks have a impact way beyond the sole telecommunication industry. Other verticals such as energy or manufacturing are already benefiting of the improve carbon result versus other ICT technologies. We encouraged all sector to better take into consideration the shift to fibre networks in the CO2 strategies. All companies can be positively impacted by deeper and more granular fibre networks thanks to its very low energy consumption and its overall ease to be deployed thanks to telecom equipment manufacturers new solutions.