Bell Labs, the research arm of network infrastructure firm Alcatel Lucent, has announced a new initiative aimed at reducing the carbon emissions of the world's communications infrastructure, including the internet, by 1,000-fold.
The project, entitled Green Touch, aims to bring together research bodies, government departments, and other network providers to help reduce the carbon emission levels of the IT industry from its current level of 300 million tonnes per year, said the firm.
Bell Labs president Dr Jeong Kim said that the initiative had been set up as part of a "wake up call to the industry that a clean slate approach is needed" to help create a more energy efficient communications network for the future.
"Our research indicates that it's possible to reduce the impact of the network infrastructure by 1,000 times, but doing so will require the whole industry to get onboard. As such, we offer an open invitation to any one in the IT industry to join the group," he said.
Around 15 key members have already joined the Green Touch consortium, including AT&T, China Mobile, Telefónica and MIT, with the goal of introducing new efficient technologies for networks within the next five years.
Ben Verwaayen, chief executive of Alcatel Lucent, explained that the move is very exciting for the company, and will lead to huge changes in the IT industry, especially at a time when demand on communication networks is growing massively.
"As people place more strain on networks for high-end services like video and email infrastructures across the world, it is vital we bring together those in the industry to attempt to overhaul the energy efficiency of the networks," he said.
UK secretary of state for energy and climate change Ed Miliband gave his backing to the project, and said that the ICT sector is perfectly placed to use technological innovation to curb its carbon footprint.
"The government welcomes industry coming together with academia to create the research, technology and solutions necessary to reduce carbon emissions," he said.
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