Trai to initiate consultation on green issues in telecom infrastructure

According to Trai sources, the contours of the discussion paper on green telecommunication is expected to be firmed up over the next few weeks


Trai had given recommendations to government on reduction in carbon footprint by mobile operators in 2011, which was accepted by the Government. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Trai had given recommendations to government on reduction in carbon footprint by mobile operators in 2011, which was accepted by the Government. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

New Delhi: Telecom regulator Trai is looking to bring out a consultation paper that would review issues related to reduction in carbon footprint for telecom infrastructure, including mobile towers. According to Trai sources, the contours of the discussion paper on green telecommunication is expected to be firmed up over the next few weeks, following a reference from Department of telecom.

“DoT has asked the regulator to review the targets that had been fixed earlier with regard to percentage of towers to be powered by hybrid energy in a time-bound manner, and the methodology of calculation of carbon footprint from the telecom networks, including base transceiver station (BTS),” Trai sources said.

They said the consultation paper will take off from the regulator’s previous recommendations of 2011 on the subject. “Trai had given recommendations to government on reduction in carbon footprint by mobile operators in 2011, which was accepted by the Government, and the latter had issued directions with regard to targets fixed on reduction in carbon footprint through use of green technologies,” sources said.

But the operators had certain concerns about the capex related to conversion of BTS into green towers through the use of hybrid energy and other means, sources pointed out. “The new consultation paper will review the milestones and methodology of calculation of carbon footprint,” they added.

In its exhaustive consultation paper of 2011, Trai had sought industry views on issues like how should the carbon footprint of Indian telecom industry be estimated; how should carbon credit policy for Indian telecom sector be evolved, and the time-frame for implementing such a policy.

It also sought views on issues like what proportion of non-grid power supply to towers in rural areas can be anticipated to be through renewable sources of energy in India in the next five years, and suitable metric for certifying a product green. It had also asked the industry about the estimate of the carbon footprint of the fixed, mobile and broadband networks.

In its consultation paper of 2011, Trai had noted that growing telecom infrastructure requires increasing amount of electricity to power it. Part of the electricity comes from the grid and remaining through burning of fossil fuel like diesel. Both of these sources contribute to negative environmental effects.

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