Arcep wants to be able to better measure the environmental impact of digital technology

With greenwashing running at full speed, it is crucial to have effective indicators to measure the sobriety efforts to be made in the digital world and hope to achieve ecological objectives which are getting further away every day. This is what Arcep seeks to do.

Like most large multinationals, telephone operators and Internet service providers are inventive enough to green their image. More and more often, their communication revolves around their environmental initiatives. To shed light on their efforts and – hopefully – their progress, the market regulator, Arcep, has set out to collect data on their ecological footprint. That was two years ago and, since then, a first report had been published, at times confronting the operators with their contradictions, faced with constantly rising network electricity consumption and the impact generated by the use of these same networks. for several years.

New indicators taken into account

Today, Arcep wants to go further by broadening its collection base, in order to have as much data as possible to establish new indicators. The authority also aims to cover the activity of a greater number of players in the telecom and digital market. Since, according to current data, 79% of the digital carbon footprint is to be attributed to device manufacturers, Arcep will seek to collect data on televisions, computers, smartphones and other tablets, not to mention boxes. and decoders, as well as data centers.

A public consultation is open until September 30 on this topic, but Arcep already has a small idea of ​​the information it would like to have. Among them, there is a question of the volume of metals and rare earths used in the manufacture of the devices, the number of terminals sold each year in these various categories, without forgetting the number of devices in circulation or the average energy consumption. So much data that will allow the organization to better analyze the environmental impact of devices throughout their life cycle.

Data centers and Internet boxes also in the viewfinder

Data centers, which represent 16% of the digital environmental footprint, will not be spared. To the data mentioned above will be added, concerning them, the need to inform the regulator on the surface occupied by the infrastructures, the average and peak energy consumption, the cooling methods, the water consumption and its treatment. As for Internet boxes, their electricity consumption in operation at a fixed speed will be measured, as part of a brand new, more advanced methodology for reading the consumption of boxes, TV decoders, but also wifi repeaters, which are the main equipment delivered. by operators to their fixed Internet customers.

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