Environment

Environmental impact of digital technology

Arcep begins a first information gathering campaign on the environmental impact of telecoms networks and devices, and is co-chairing a new BEREC expert working group devoted to sustainability


Arcep begins a first information gathering campaign on the environmental impact of telecoms networks and devices

Arcep is adding a green component to its tool for gathering information from telecoms operators. The goal: to better understand the sector’s environmental issues and challenges, and to inform public policymakers and users on the impact of their consumption, through the publication of a yearly green barometer included in its annual report on the State of the internet in France.

The indicators being collected pertain to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that the main telecommunications operators in France produce through their networks, and to the energy consumed by the boxes used by their customers.

This is the first in a regular series of information gathering campaigns that will be enhanced over time.

Working together within BEREC, European regulators are making sustainability an increasingly integral part of their focus. Arcep’s Anaïs Aubert is co-chairing the expert group devoted to this issue.

On 6 March, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) created three new expert working groups, including one devoted to sustainability [1].

Co-chaired by Arcep policy officer, Anaïs Aubert, and the BEREC Office’s Head of Administration and Finance, Dr. Panos Karaminas, this working group will be tasked with:

  • Assessing and limiting BEREC’s own environmental impact, notably travel-related;
  • Studying the environmental impact of telecoms networks in the broadest sense, and exploring avenues for reducing it. Here, the working group could focus on the core issues that make up the European Union’s “Green Deal” [2].

Also worth noting is that sustainable development is part of BEREC’s strategic priorities for 2021 – 2025 [3] which are currently under public consultation.

Arcep’s cycle of inquiry into Future networks

Last October, Arcep published a brief on the impact that various network developments and changing user habits have on digital technology’s carbon footprint.

In September 2018 Arcep began a new cycle of inquiry to anticipate how networks are likely to evolve over the next five to ten years. The goal for Arcep being to prepare for upcoming challenges in regulating communications networks, and to steer its actions accordingly. To help conduct this forward-looking exercise, Arcep surrounded itself with a Scientific Committee of 10 prominent experts, including academics, entrepreneurs and industry veterans covering a wide range of expertise.

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[1] BEREC decision: https://berec.europa.eu/eng/document_register/subject_matter/berec_office/decisions_of_the_management_board/9024-decision-of-the-management-board-of-the-agency-for-support-for-berec-on-the-appointment-of-the-co-chairs-of-the-expert-networking-groups

[2] https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/european-green-deal_fr

[3] https://berec.europa.eu/eng/document_register/subject_matter/berec/annual_work_programmes/9039-draft-berec-strategy-2021-2025