The pandemic and the catastrophic floods in western Germany – two events that showed how important electronic communication is. It was only during the pandemic that it allowed many to work from home and keep so many branches of the economy alive. The floods also destroyed much of the communications infrastructure or it failed to function due to power outages, especially when it was needed most.
Its advantages are therefore undisputed – what about sustainability? Isn’t it true that more and more data centers need to be built, more cables need to be laid, and more mobile phone towers need to be erected for data to flow? And don’t these data centers already produce more CO2 than all air traffic?
Markus Haas, German boss of telecommunications group Telefónica with the O2 brand, is well aware: Yes, he told SZ Sustainability Congress, information technology also consumes energy, but the amount The positive digitization far outweighs the 2030, we can save up to 37% CO2 through digitization “- based on the overall German balance sheet.
Telefónica wants to be climate neutral by “2025 at the latest”
Because a lot can be done in more energy efficient ways with digital processes, for example by working more from home or bypassing one or the other business trip, the telecom industry is also helping. other companies to achieve their environmental goals. Telefónica itself wants to be climate neutral by “2025 at the latest”. “We have 76 goals for this, which are measured annually,” says Haas.
The CEO has high expectations for 5G mobile technology, which uses 90% less power than its 4G predecessor to carry the same amount of data. But as the amount of data flowing over the air is also constantly increasing, other areas must also be addressed, such as the promotion of green electricity.
He also mentions another example: Telefónica has developed a solution for its Safe Sky product in collaboration with the company Lanthan. This is the lighting of wind turbines. To avoid collisions with planes or helicopters, they should be lit at night. However, an airplane almost never passes many masts, and even wind turbines near the airplane unnecessarily glow all night long – this costs energy and causes light pollution.
Some wind turbines already have a system for recording approaching aircraft
Safe Sky, the only previously approved automatic system, uses a traffic data receiver to use signals from the aircraft’s transponders to detect approach and only illuminates the warning light while it is nearby. Some wind turbine operators are already using the system, and Telefónica provides the mobile phone connection. The entire system can be controlled remotely so that an installer does not have to climb up every time there is a problem.
It is also because of such solutions that it is important to supply the entire region of Germany with mobile communications. At the end of 2024, promises Markus Haas, there will be no more dead spots, “we are building several thousand stations again this year with our competitors”. First of all, it is about 4G. Investments are also being made in the expansion of 5G, 99% of the population is expected to be reached with the high performance standard by 2025.