Networks and the Environment

“Achieving digital sustainability”

Arcep launches a collaboration platform and calls on stakeholders to contribute to the dialogue and help draft the first co-authored report

Arcep is launching a collaboration platform: “Achieving digital sustainability,” and is calling on all interested associations, institutions, operators, digital industry businesses and experts to contribute to it, through a series of workshops. The first one will be held on 9 July.

An open and transparent collaboration platform, to think together about the environmental issues surrounding the ongoing development of communication networks, devices and usage.

Through this platform, participants will focus on telecom networks as a whole (fixed and mobile), but also on devices and uses, all major driving forces of digital consumption and its environmental footprint.

Arcep will host a series of thematic workshops between now and the end of the year. They will provide an opportunity for everyone to share their views, practices, tools and skills, and so fuel this collective brainstorming.

The first workshop on 9 July will be the chance to establish the themes of the technical workshops to be held in the coming months, culminating in the production of a first report.

A co-authored report to be published at the end of the year

A report scheduled to be published before the end of this year will mark an important milestone for this work, and for the work that Arcep is doing on environmental issues. Co-authored with the stakeholders and designed to inform public policymakers, it will be composed of three parts:

  • A scorecard from Arcep, which will include a beta version of the Green Barometer, whose purpose is to provide the public with the most relevant data on the environmental impact of networks, devices and usage, along with a preliminary inventory of the players’ best practices for rising to environmental challenges;
  • Contributions from the participants, giving everyone a chance to voice their proposals:
  • Arcep’s initial courses of action in pursuit of the environmental issues laid out in this report.

The dialogue between the participants during the series of workshops will therefore provide the input for this report.

Those interested in participating can send their written contributions, in the run-up to the workshop on 9 July, to the following address: numeriquesoutenable[a] .

Tackling environmental imperatives: a new chapter in regulation

Arcep’s aim is to turn environmental issues into a new chapter in regulation. This is part of a long-term ambition and in keeping with the responsibilities it has been assigned in this area by the legislator. Arcep wants its actions to be carried out in sync with those of public authorities, notably those of France’s Environment and Energy Management Agency, ADEME, with whom work is already underway. Here, the aforementioned report will constitute an early milestone in the work that will continue and deepen over the coming years.

Arcep committed to tackling the issues surrounding digital technology’s environmental footprint: the first initiatives

  • Cycle of inquiry into “Future Networks”

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 is to prepare for upcoming challenges in regulating communications networks, and to steer its actions accordingly. To help conduct this new forward-looking exercise, Arcep surrounded itself with a Scientific Committee of 10 leading figures: academics, entrepreneurs and industry veterans covering a wide range of expertise. The Committee met on 2 December of last year to discuss two new briefs, which are being published today on Arcep’s website.

Last October, Arcep published a first brief on the impact that networks and their uses have on digital technology’s carbon footprint.

To find out more about Arcep’s cycle of inquiry into “Future Networks”

  • Preliminary work on creating a Green Barometer

Back in April, Arcep added an environmenta l protection dimension to its tool for collecting information from telecom operators. The collected indicators pertain to the greenhouse gas emissions that the country’s main telecom operators produce through their networks, and through the energy consumed by the boxes they supply to their customers. The goal: to gain a deeper understanding of the sector’s environmental issues, and to inform public policymakers and users about the impact of their usage. Beyond that, the first draft of a Green Barometer will be incorporated into the above-mentioned report, which is due to be published later this year.

To find out more

  • Work being done at the European level: Arcep is the co-chair of a new BEREC (Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) experts working group devoted to sustainability.

This experts working group’s responsibilities will include studying the environmental impact of telecoms networks, in the broadest sense of the term, and to work on establishing best practices for addressing environmental imperatives. This will provide a framework for the group to work on topics related to establishing a “Green Deal for Europe”.

To find out more

  • Cooperation between regulators

 Gathered since 2017 in an informal group, on 5 May the Competition Authority (Autorité de la concurrence), the Financial Markets Authority (AMF), the Electronic Communications, Postal and Print media distribution Regulatory Authority (Arcep), the Transport Regulatory Body (ART), the National Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL), the Commission for Energy Regulation (CRE), the Superior Council of the Audiovisual (CSA) and the High Authority of Diffusion on the Art Works and Protection of Rights on the Internet (HADOPI) published their work on the climate emergency and the regulatory challenges it represents.

To find out more