How much energy will your NGN consume? A model for energy consumption in next generation access networks: The case of Spain


The contribution to global energy consumption of the information and communications technology (ICT) sector has increased considerably in the last decade, along with its growing relevance to the overall economy. This trend will continue due to the seemingly ever greater use of these technologies, with broadband data traffic generated by the usage of telecommunication networks as a primary component. In fact, in response to user demand, the telecommunications industry is initiating the deployment of next generation networks (NGNs). However, energy consumption is mostly absent from the debate on these deployments, in spite of the potential impact on both expenses and sustainability. In addition, consumers are unaware of the energy impact of their choices in ultra-broadband services. This paper focuses on forecasting energy consumption in the access part of NGNs by modelling the combined effect of the deployment of two different ultra-broadband technologies (FTTH-GPON and LTE), the evolution of traffic per user, and the energy consumption in each of the networks and user devices. Conclusions are presented on the levels of energy consumption, their cost and the impact of different network design parameters. The effect of technological developments, techno-economic and policy decisions on energy consumption is highlighted. On the consumer side, practical figures and comparisons across technologies are provided. Although the paper focuses on Spain, the analysis can be extended to similar countries.

Publication type: 
JRC-SCI Magazine
Published in: 
Telecommunications Policy Vol: 37, 10, pp 981–1003
Publication date: 
November 2013
CeDInt Authors: 
Other Authors: 
Rafael Coomonte, José-Luis Gómez-Barroso