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Broadband Players Sign Up to Boost Small Network Equipment Energy Efficiency

June 30, 2015 By Finley Engineering in

Members of the broadband carrier ecosystem are joining together to improve the energy efficiency of equipment used to deliver broadband services. Led by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), a range of ISPs, equipment suppliers and consumer equipment manufacturers on June 25 signed a voluntary agreement that establishes strict requirements that will improve energy efficiency of small network equipment (SNE) 10-20 percent.

Reducing energy consumption and increasing energy efficiency are key aspects of consumer and electronics industry innovation and sustainable development plans given the steep upward trajectory of electronic device and equipment energy use. The voluntary agreement will cover more than 90 percent of U.S. broadband households, a total of some 80 million homes, CEA and NCTA announced in a press release.

Connecting more and more devices, machinery and equipment to the Internet and private digital networks – the Internet of Things (IoT) – will drive consumer and electronics industry energy consumption higher in coming years. That has government, as well as environmental and public interest groups, concerned and eager to help find and implement ways and means of boosting energy efficiency and reducing environmental pollution that damages human and ecosystems health, safety and vitality.

“DOE (Department of Energy) appreciates industry’s voluntary commitment to improving the energy efficiency of small network equipment, and looks forward to the progress they can make and verification of the impacts at the appropriate time,” Dr. Kathleen Hogan, DOE deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency, was quoted as saying.

Program Participants
AT&T, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, CenturyLink, Charter Communications, Comcast, Cox Communications, DIRECTV, Time Warner Cable and Verizon have signed on the voluntary SNE energy efficiency program. So have manufacturers Actiontec, ARRIS, Cisco, D-Link, EchoStar Technologies, NETGEAR, Pace and Ubee Interactive.

Part and parcel of the voluntary agreement, participants will report publicly on SNE energy use and efficiency. This includes annual progress reports produced by an independent third party. The agreement also requires that energy efficiency of SNE devices be verified annually and meets specified targets. Program participants will also meet and consult with regulatory authorities and other stakeholders on a regular basis.

Model Plan
The voluntary SNE energy efficiency agreement runs through 2017. It’s modeled on a similar agreement launched by CEA, NCTA, the Energy Dept., and others in 2013 that has proven successful in improving energy efficiency of set-top boxes (STBs).

The voluntary pay-TV STB energy efficiency agreement resulted in reducing energy consumption of the STBs nationwide 4.4 percent in its first year. The reduction came despite an increase in the number of STBs in use across the U.S.