Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Telstra claims Interent will combat global warming

According to a report in the Age newspaper, Telstra claims that its new broadband network would help reduce global warming:
TELSTRA chief Sol Trujillo has renewed his assault on the Federal Government, this time adding a new and topical twist: failure to accede to the company's demands in exchange for building a new broadband network, he said yesterday, would hamper the fight against global warming. ...

Until yesterday, this dispute had nothing to do with global warming. But Mr Trujillo told the Future Summit in Melbourne that Telstra's desire to build and own a next-generation high-speed broadband network was "about changing the game on climate change".

Mr Trujillo said that an FTTN network would help tackle global warming because faster and more powerful internet services would lessen the amount of travel needed to conduct business and enable more efficient management of electricity grids. ...

While Telstra has built NextG and IP networks - used for mobile phone and some broadband services - its FTTN plans have been shelved. ...

Mr Trujillo also said that FTTN technology would remove the wastage caused by unused electrical devices, saying that mobile phones could be equipped with locators that turned on computers and other devices when a person entered the room. ...

Trujillo turns green in his quest for broadband, Dan Silkstone, The Age, May 15, 2007
This makes some sense, particularly if Access Grid technology, with large high resolution video screens becomes popular for networked meetings. This could be used in home offices, to save having to travel to the office, as well as in offices.

The relevance of Fibre to the Node (FTTN) to this is that it is one technology for delivering higher speed broadband to homes. However, for most working meetings, where the participants know each other and are trying to get work done, rather than impress each other, I have phone a very modest 64 kbps connection is sufficient. This is enough to have a telephone quality audio conference and look at documents and slide show presentations. Existing ADSL speeds would be more than enough to add a good quality video conference.

Cheap widespread access to wireless data networks could be very useful for reducing electricity consumption, by allowing more intelligent metering. Customers would have an incentive to switch off power at peak times, if the wireless network could tell them when that was and they could be billed second by second for it.

Having equipment turned on when people enter a room (or more importantly turned off when they leave) is not a new idea. I tried several such devices in my "Smart Apartment" and ended up with the simplest and cheapest: a security sensor which turns off lights automatically. In a Cambridge computer lab I wore an infrared tag which tracked me around the building, but these were not liked by the staff. Putting the sensor in a phone is clever, but requires no new mobile network, just a $10 RFID tag stuck onto the phone.

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