The clear demand among telcos for energy-efficient solutions has invited a significant level of innovation among equipment vendors and others in the supply chain. This is targeted across different levels of the network including RAN, core and passive infra (such as towers, cooling and batteries). The last decade’s efforts around software-defined networking have shifted network intelligence and control to the software layer. While the cost benefits from virtualisation are well established, there are also sustainability draws from being able to upgrade remotely and avoid truck rolls and the associated personnel. Beyond telco’s own house, connectivity can help decarbonise other industries, which we are seeing through early deployments, with investments likely to pick up as economies recover from Covid and in the wake of COP26. Perhaps most important in future are efforts to tackle emissions in the supply chain – scope 3 – for which efforts are being made to align standards in product manufacturing, materials, re-use and transportation.
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