An additional 16 broadband providers and data center companies have signed up to the European Commission's initiative to reduce electricity consumption.
British Telecom, Belgacom, France Telecom-Orange, OTE, Telefonica and Turk Telekom among others, have joined heavyweights such as Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Vodafone and Cisco in the voluntary plan to help cut carbon emissions. The new signees bring the number of companies participating to 36.
IT and communications equipment consumes more than 8 percent of electrical power in the EU and produces about 4 percent of its CO2 emissions each year. These figures could double by 2020, according to the European Commission's Joint Research Center (JRC). As part of the initiative to prevent this, the companies will undertake to follow certain codes of conduct.
For the broadband providers, this includes the mandatory use of the best available low-energy components and maximum power consumption rules. The new signees bring the code's coverage up to 65 million EU broadband lines with 10 million more in Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.
Data centres, meanwhile, account roughly for 18 percent of the ICT sector's energy consumption and their code of conduct was set up in October 2008. It aims to remove outdated designs that lead to power consumption inefficiencies. This year the code was upgraded with a series of best practice recommendations on design, purchase and operation in areas like software, IT architecture and IT infrastructure, all aimed at making data centres more energy efficient.
"Implementing these two codes of conduct will significantly reduce the EU's electricity consumption and could save €4.5 billion per year," said Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes, making the announcement at the ICT 2010- Digitally Driven event in Brussels.