Promoting Green Technologies in Indian Telecom sector

Posted on April 18, 2011 by


As a part of the effort to promote green telecommunications and to suggest ways to address the issues of enviromental impact of the fast growing telecom industry, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recently released its recommendations on “Approach Towards Green Telecommunications”. These recommendations were developed through consultative process with various industry and non-industry stakeholders.

A summary of recommendations to the Government is as under

1. Measures to green the telecommunication sector should be an integral part of the proposed National Telecom Policy. The policy should underline the need to Green Telecommunications and set the broad direction and goals.

2. In the next five years, at least 50% of all rural towers and 33% of the urban towers are to be powered by hybrid power (Renewable Energy Technologies (RET) + Grid power) by 2015, while all rural towers and 50% of urban towers are to be hybrid powered by 2020.

3. All telecom products, equipments and services in the telecom network should be Energy and performance assessed and certified “Green Passport [GP]” utilising the ECR’s Rating and the Energy ‘passport’ determined by the year 2015.

4. TEC should be the nodal centre that will certify telecom products, equipments and services on the basis of ECR ratings. TEC could either appoint independent certifying agencies under its guidance or will certify the same through their Quality Assurance teams. TEC should also prepare and bring out the ‘ECR Document’ delineating the specifics of the test procedures and the measurement methodology utilised.

5. By 2015, all mobile phones should be free of brominates and chlorinated compounds and antimony trioxide in accordance with the e-waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2010, proposed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests to be followed by all telecom manufacturers, as and when notified.

6. All mobile manufacturers/ distributors should be required to place collection bins at appropriate places for collection of e-waste – mobile phones, batteries, chargers etc. The e-waste should be safely disposed or recycled as per the prevailing standards. The collection, storage, transportation, segregation, refurbishment, dismantling recycling and disposal of all e-waste shall be in accordance with the procedures prescribed in the guidelines by the Pollution Control
Boards from time to time.

Other suggested measures measures include
1. All service providers should declare to TRAI the carbon footprint of their network operations in the format specified. The Declaration of the carbon footprints should be done twice in a year i.e. half yearly report for the period ending September to be submitted by 15th of November and the succeeding half yearly report for the period ending March to be submitted by 15th of May each year.

2. All service providers, through their Service associations, should adopt a Voluntary Code of Practice encompassing energy efficient Network Planning, active infra-sharing, deployment of energy efficient technologies and adoption of Renewable Energy Technology (RET) including the following elements
– The network operators should progressively induct carefully designed and optimized energy efficient radio networks that reduce overall power and energy consumption.
– Service providers should endeavour to ensure that the total power consumption of each BTS will not exceed 500W by the year 2020.
– Sharing of the infrastructure using passive as well active methodologies should be done to minimize the eventuality of
locating new sites within the vicinity of existing towers. [say within 200m, in Urban areas & within 2 Km, in Rural areas].
Service providers should plan to have at least 10% of their sites actively shared by the year 2014.
– A phased programme should be put in place by the telecom service providers to have their cell sites, particularly in the rural areas, powered by hybrid renewable sources including wind energy, solar energy, fuel cells or a combination thereof. The eventual goal under this phased programme is to ensure that around 50% of all towers in the rural areas are powered by hybrid renewable sources by the year 2015.
– Service providers through their associations should consensually evolve the voluntary code of practice and submit the same to TRAI before the end of July 2011.

3. All Service providers should evolve a ‘Carbon Credit Policy’ in line with carbon credits norms with the ultimate objective of attaining full carbon neutral footprints in rural areas and with 50% carbon neutral footprint in urban areas by the year 2020. The base year for calculating all existing carbon footprints would be 2011, with an implementation period of one year. Hence the first year of carbon reduction would be the year 2012.

4. Based on the details of footprints declared by all service providers, service providers should aim at Carbon emission reduction targets for the mobile network at 8% by the year 2012-2013, 12% by the year 2014-2015, 17% by the year 2016-2017 and 25% by the year 2018-2019.

We will soon come back with a comprehensive analysis of these recommendations and suggested measures.

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