Shift to energy-efficient tech; TRAI seeks ideas by 27 Feb

NEW DEHI: With the world coming to grips with problems of climate change and green house gas emissions, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is in the process of preparing a strategy to tackle the problems created by the telecom sector in this regard.

Following a request received from the Department of Telecom, TRAI has issued the Consultation Paper on Approach towards Sustainable Telecommunications. The paper has raised 14 questions on which stakeholders have to respond by 27 February 2017.

TRAI had issued a paper on similar issues in 2012 and the DoT had in fact given directions on that basis, but new issues have cropped up with emerging technologies.

India has the second largest and fastest growing mobile telephone market in the world. Power and energy consumption for telecom network operations is by far the most important significant contributor of carbon emissions in the telecom industry.

Hence, it is important for the telecom operators to shift to energy efficient technologies and alternate sources of energy. Moreover, Going Green has also become a business necessity for telecom operators with energy costs becoming as large as 25 per cent of total network operations costs. A typical communications company spends nearly one per cent of its revenues on energy which for large operators may amount to several million rupees.

The Telecom Sector witnessed substantial growth in the number of subscribers during the year 2015-16 and up to September 2016. As of November 2016, the subscriber base was 1123.95 million, out of which 1099.51 million were wireless subscribers.

During the year 2015-16, subscriber base recorded an increase from 969.89 million to 1033.63 while the overall teledensity increased from 79.38 to 83.36. The year also saw density from 48.37 to 51.37 while the urban teledensity increased from 148.61 to 154.01.

The Internet subscriber base in the country as on September 2016 stood at 367.48 million as compared to 324.95 million as on September 2015. This growth also leads to greater carbon dioxide and green house gases and the DoT is working on checking this damage to the environment.

To develop the roadmap, comprehensive program and viability gap funding for mobilizing the renewable energy technology deployment in telecom sector, DoT constituted a Renewable Energy Technology (RET) committee which submitted its report on 1 August 2014. The recommendations of RET committee were further examined by a departmental committee which has submitted its report in May 2015.

In light of the above mentioned reports of the Committee and deliberation thereof, DoT has sought recommendations of TRAI on the methodology of measuring Carbon Emission and calibration of Directives issued by DoT in 2012 and approach for implementation (Target on the implementation of RETs).

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