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Achieving sustainability with neutral hosting: A problem shared is a problem halved

By: Brendan O'Reilly, Group COO

Like many other sectors, the telecoms industry is becoming more focused on its impact on our planet. Telecom decision-makers are faced with certain realities. One being that the industry accounts for twice the CO2 emissions — approx. 1.4% according to the CTIA — as the civil aviation industry. Without a doubt, now more than ever, telcos need to take steps to reduce their impact on the environment.

But how can we achieve this? How do we embrace more sustainable practices while still delivering better and broader connectivity, upgrading infrastructure and meeting consumer demands?

The route to sustainability isn’t the simplest, especially where high-energy efforts are required, such as upgrading legacy network infrastructure, or building new networks for improved coverage. It’s important to explore new ways of deploying and maintaining physical network infrastructure, namely thinking about sharing infrastructure between multiple providers.

Sustainable shared infrastructure can shape our industry’s future and reduce our carbon footprint.

Making the case for neutral host

Neutral host proves its own worth – as the old saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved. What does this mean in practice?

The neutral host or shared infrastructure approach allows carriers to share a single network infrastructure. It reduces energy consumption by individual carrier-dedicated networks, in both construction and operation. In the simplest of terms, the fewer companies build their own physical infrastructure, the less physical waste is produced. And telecom waste can be incredibly harmful. A recent WSJ investigation revealed that the thousands of lead cables telecom companies laid decades ago pose a hidden health hazard today.

A neutral host approach is also as much a business concern as an environmental one. All sectors, such as venues, transport or other types of enterprises, can benefit from the lower costs and flexibility of plugging into a single infrastructure.

How does this really work?

Neutral host presents us with an opportunity for a greener path. The modern model for network infrastructure can reduce environmental impact while improving customer experience. This also conveniently contributes to achieving the UN Global Compact SDG 11 in a more efficient and sustainable way. Specifically, how does neutral host technology contribute to sustainability?

  1. Efficient deployment: Neutral host accelerates the deployment of mobile networks, streamlining the supply chain and deployment process and enhancing operational efficiency.
  2. 5G densification: As the wireless industry moves towards full-scale 5G, neutral host capabilities play a vital role in minimizing the energy required for the creation and maintenance of denser networks. This approach significantly contributes to reducing the environmental impact of wireless infrastructure expansion.
  3. Enhanced coverage: Neutral host facilitates telecoms operators in expanding network reach through state-of-the-art shared networks. This minimizes the need for installing multiple carrier-dedicated networks, ultimately resulting in a more efficient use of resources.

A shared responsibility for a shared future

The goal of us telecom professionals should be to combine innovation with sustainability by creating resilient and energy-efficient networks. And to ensure best practices, investors, customers, employees, suppliers, and partners should all be considered from this eco-friendly perspective.

Advanced technology and sustainability can coexist as we build and innovate. In order to ensure the future well-being of present and future generations, we need to ensure that they do.

Source: RCR Wireless News