SubOptic Foundation Publishes Sustainable Subsea Networks Report

SubOptic Foundation releases a groundbreaking report on sustainable practices in subsea telecommunications cable industryBy Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
January 23, 2024

Groundbreaking report on best practices in subsea telecommunications cable sustainability supported with funding from the Internet Society Foundation

SubOptic Foundation, the charitable arm of the SubOptic Association which focuses its efforts on education and research, has announced the publication of the Report on Best Practices in Subsea Telecommunications Cable Sustainability.

Subsea telecommunications cables have long been recognized as enabling a more sustainable future, while they themselves have a marginal carbon footprint. Thus, they have often been left out of studies of internet sustainability. Yet the subsea telecommunications industry is making efforts to reduce its carbon footprint to an even lower level. The Sustainable Subsea Networks Report describes an array of existing and potential sustainable practices for the subsea cable industry. These include accounting and disclosing CO₂ emissions, setting targets, sustainable design and operations, purchase and installation of renewable energy, and recycling and recovery, among other areas.

Erick Contag, chairperson of the SubOptic Foundation, summed it up,“This report is the first major stepping stone in the SubOptic Foundation’s efforts to encourage and support collaboration among the subsea telecommunications cable industry on vital issues for our future. With the recent extension of our grant from the Internet Society Foundation, we’re anticipating even greater contributions to the industry and the global communications footprint in the future. I’d like to thank all of SubOptic’s members and others throughout the subsea cable industry who continue to be part of making this a reality.”

The research team is led by Dr. Nicole Starosielski, Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and supported by SubOptic Association members companies and their representatives, who have collaborated to establish industry-wide cooperation on the critically-important initiative.

The Sustainable Subsea Networks Report was funded by the Internet Society Foundation. In December 2023, the Internet Society Foundation awarded the SubOptic Foundation a $500,000 renewal grant to continue this critical work to enhance subsea cable sustainability.

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