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TRAI proposes `carbon credits' for telcos

Thomas K Thomas

To promote `green' infrastructure


Eco-friendly move
TRAI has suggested giving financial incentives in terms of lower revenue share to operators deploying non-conventional sources of energy
Cellular operators are keenly looking to deploy eco-friendly fuels

New Delhi , Dec. 5

In a bid to promote environment-friendly telecom infrastructure, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has proposed to give carbon credits to operators for using eco-friendly fuels to power their exchanges and mobile base stations.

TRAI has suggested giving financial incentives in terms of lower revenue share to operators deploying non-conventional sources of energy such as solar and wind energy wherever possible.

"The operational cost becomes very high to provide backup power supply in case regular electric supply is erratic. Moreover, since the use of generator for long hours results in pollution, there is a need to encourage use of non-conventional sources of energy.

"If a service provider uses say solar energy to energise base station, he may be considered for certain incentive taking clue from similar concept being used internationally to reduce pollution known as "carbon credit", said a TRAI official.

The TRAI move comes at a time when cellular operators in the country are keenly looking to deploy eco-friendly fuels. Operators are looking at using bio-fuels and hydrogen cells to power their base stations spread across the country especially in rural and remote areas where transporting fossil fuels is major issue.

Green shelters

The Cellular Operators Association of India has engaged R&D firm Acme to conduct research and pilots on using hydrogen-based cells to power mobile base stations. On the other hand the GSM Association has embarked on a project with equipment vendors to use palm oil and oil from pumpkin seed as a source of fuel. Idea Cellular is working with Ericsson to launch one such project.

Operators are also looking to deploy green shelters to house cellular equipment in an environment friendly way.

At present operators are using diesel powered gensets to keep the base stations running. Bio-fuels have several advantages over conventional diesel as a power source for base stations. Bio-fuels can be produced locally, creating employment in rural areas, while reducing the need for transportation, related logistics and security.

The cleaner burning fuel results in fewer site visits and also extends the life of the base station generator, reducing operators' costs.

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