Greens call for government to force mobile phone companies to cut waste by sharing equipment.

20 April 2009

The power wasted by the mobile networks every year is more than the total energy used for every single household in Oxford and Didcot, says Oxford's Green MEP, Caroline Lucas.

BETTER TOGETHER, a report for the Green Party, has found that the energy the network wastes every year would power several big city tram systems or 68,000 homes.

It concludes that competition between mobile phone companies is wasting almost 300 GWh a year due to duplication of telephone network equipment and the amount of energy currently wasted by the mobile phone networks would be enough to:

• Run almost a third of the London Underground.
• Power seven Docklands Light Railways.
• Keep the Blackpool Tramway going for 137 years.
• Meet the electricity needs of around 68,000 homes.

A solution would be to force mobile phone companies must cooperate to cut the industry's emissions as part of Britain's fight against climate change.

Caroline Lucas, who's also leader of the Green Party, said:

"While ordinary households come under pressure to save energy, it's unacceptable to allow these duplicated 'phone masts to continue with such shocking and wasteful ways.
"The amount of electricity being squandered is more than enough to power every home in Oxford and Didcot combined."

Dr Lucas called on the government to step in with some regulations:

"In the short-term operators could be required to share base stations at times of low demand. The government should direct Ofcom to ensure that the sharing of the new 800 MHz frequency band is done in a way that is energy efficient."

She added that long term measures could go even further to cut waste:

"Ultimately they could build a new shared infrastructure. They could cooperate on a ‘super-network'. With the climate crisis deepening, Britain can't afford this amount of gratuitous waste."


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