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Why it’s vital to strive for Broadband Zero

Why it’s vital to strive for Broadband Zero?

Climate change is by far the greatest challenge of our time. While living, working, playing we should respect the limits of our planet. I believe every government, business and citizen has a role to play—some big, some small. The important thing is that we all strive to maximize our positive impact on the planet and all lives on it.

With our broadband solutions we’re building a sustainable Gigabit world for all. We give access to digital services no matter who you are or where you live. We know our products inevitably consume resources and energy, but we also know that, overall, broadband contributes to a 7-fold net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as it improves well-being, enhances education, enables efficiency gains and reduces transportation. So, the more people we connect to broadband, the more sustainable we can make our planet.

To reduce our carbon footprint, we’ve set ambitious sustainability goals. We were the first telecommunication equipment supplier to join the Science-Based Targets initiative, which provides a clearly defined pathway for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And through initiatives such as Design for Environment, power-saving innovations, and our commitment to bridging the digital divide, we are pursuing what we call Broadband Zero: we use our innovation power to ensure zero communities are excluded from broadband; in which zero people are left behind; and in which we aim for zero waste.

Design for Environment

We’re taking meaningful action across the full lifecycle of our products to reduce our environmental impact. That means looking at all our processes and practices from design through to end of life while ensuring our products also help operators and consumers reduce their carbon footprints.

Lifecycle thinking is a key component in our Design for Environment approach:

The lifecycle in Nokias design for environment approach

  • Eco product design to optimize the use of raw materials and make components easy to dismantle, repair and repurpose
  • Operational innovations to reduce the environmental impact of transport, packaging, installation and outside plant design
  • Access network technology with high-power efficiency, a less intrusive footprint, and power-saving features
  • Takeback, refurbish and recycle services to maximize the value of obsolete equipment.

We’re also working with leading operators on sustainable product initiatives, such as circular product passports, eco-cost calculations, and improvements in raw materials used and recyclability. Based on the Recycling and Reuse Metric that we pioneered, we are now better able to evaluate new product designs with an eye towards increased sustainability, easy upgradeability and superior product longevity.

Fiber and 5G for a sustainable future

Fiber is a significantly more sustainable technology than other types of fixed broadband as well as being more efficient to operate. Since 2007, power consumption has been reduced by 38% while broadband speeds have increased by a factor of 64, as successive generations of access technology have delivered greater bandwidth but even greater energy savings. The scalability, reliability and longevity of fiber also contributes to a lower carbon footprint as fiber requires less maintenance and fewer repairs.

Being the most future-proof and energy-efficient infrastructure, full-fiber networks are key contributors to sustainability in the telecoms sector. But another goal of Broadband Zero is to close the digital divide as fast as possible, and that requires a mix of fixed and wireless broadband technologies.

Fiber broadband will reach 860 million households worldwide by 2024, yet that represents only about one third of all households. Fiber extension technologies like and 5G Fixed Wireless Access, along with 5G mobile broadband, ensure the digital divide does not widen between those who have broadband and those who have not.

Power-saving technology innovations

Across the complete lifecycle of our products, energy consumption during use accounts for about 89% of their total carbon footprint. This is why we invest heavily in power-saving innovations. Power consumption is mostly driven by the chipsets used, so we developed our own Quillion chipset that allows us to build power-optimized line cards with higher port density, integrated energy-saving features and higher throughput per watt. Quillion reduces power consumption for PON products by more than 50% compared to industry average, easily beating the targets set by the Code of Conducts for Broadband Communication Equipment. We apply the same energy-efficiency mindset to our end-user products. The Wi-Fi 6 technology in our Nokia WiFi Beacons allows new power saving modes with scheduled sleep/wake times for longer battery life and up to 67% lower power consumption.

Broadband Zero is about creating the technologies that enable the connected future for billions of people around the world, bringing them socio-economic benefits and contributing to a more sustainable way of living.

In short, a sustainable Gigabit world for us all.

Sandy Motley

About Sandy Motley

Sandy leads the Fixed Networks division at Nokia. She holds four degrees from three renowned U.S. universities. The years she spent dealing with the wireless business makes her the perfect leader to guide our customers through the massive access journey. In her free time, Sandy likes to read, watch sports and spend time with her family.

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