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Carbon Footprint for 1MB of Mobile Broadband Data on O2 UK is 11g CO2e

Monday, May 21st, 2012 (1:57 pm) - Score 2,663

Ever wonder how “green” your Mobile Broadband connection is? Probably not but mobile operator O2 UK, which has just had the carbon footprint of its network independently verified via a “robust analysis” from the Carbon Trust, is going to tell you anyway.

Apparently the “greenhouse gas emissions” (carbon dioxide etc.) for transferring 1MB (MegaByte) of data over their 3G network is 11g CO2e, while the carbon footprint of making a 1 minute voice call is 3.6g CO2e; that’s allegedly the “carbon-equivalent to boiling water to make one cup of tea” (assumed to be boiling 250ml of water). So now you know.


As a result O2 plan to deliver “carbon benefits to customers“, which will be ten times the impact of the network, by 2015. The operator also believes that 56% of UK consumers would be more loyal to brands that can show, at a glance, evidence of action on carbon.

Gareth Rice, Head of Environment at O2, said:

Our aim is to develop the UK’s most carbon-efficient network, putting our own operations under the microscope and looking for ways to reduce the footprint we leave on the world. By evaluating our impact in conjunction with the Carbon Trust we feel we are doing just that.”

O2’s Think Big Blueprint plans a lot of external activities to help improve their green credentials, such as “funding and supporting young people aged 13-25 to lead positive change in their communities“. The operator also aims to halve the emissions from their network by 2015 (relative to data traffic) and procure 100% renewable energy for all sites where they control the energy bill, plus much more.

It will be interesting to see whether or not this approach helps O2 to attract new customers. Meanwhile most consumers will continue to base their choice of operator or ISP upon on the usual balance of service quality and price.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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