Comcast promises energy efficiency improvements for its vast cable and internet system

Comcast on Monday pledged to double the energy efficiency of its massive nationwide broadband system, which routes a deluge of cable and Internet data into millions of homes.

The global media and technology company, headquartered in Philadelphia, plans to double the energy efficiency of its network by 2030 and halve the power consumption per terabyte of data delivered. The pledge comes on top of Comcast’s goal set last year to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2035 for the direct and indirect emissions it owns and controls.

The commitment has been timed to coincide with the opening of the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers exhibit at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The annual SCTE Cable-Tec Expo attracted thousands of visitors before the event went virtual for the past two years due to the pandemic. This week’s event marks their return to a live venue. The company is based in Exton.

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“We are on the journey to a greener internet,” said Charlie Herrin, president of the technology, products and experiences organization at Comcast Cable, in a statement. “The intelligent technologies powering our new network architecture are transforming the way data is delivered, delivering the industry’s best combination of speed, coverage and control – all in a more sustainable way.”

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To underscore its commitment to sustainability, Comcast said it purchased renewable energy certificates to power the cable show with 100% renewable energy. Comcast is among many companies that have touted their green credentials to meet their commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria used by socially conscious investors.

The energy efficiency changes that Comcast implements in its system will be invisible to retail customers. Comcast says it has transitioned its network to virtual, cloud-based technologies that offer faster broadband speeds and greater reliability. The new virtualized platform includes more centralized locations for headends, hubs, and data centers that require less hardware, less space, and less power per byte.

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From 2019 to 2021, Comcast reported improving energy efficiency by 30%.

The efficiency promise applies only to Comcast’s network and not to set-top boxes in customers’ homes, those visible consumers of electricity in the home, even when the television is off. New efficiency standards for set-top boxes came into force last year after environmental groups pressured major cable providers to supply more efficient equipment to their customers.

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