The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and NCTA announced a four-year extension of the Voluntary Agreement for Ongoing Improvement to the Energy Efficiency of Small Network Equipment, an industry initiative that the organizations say has already improved the efficiency of home Internet devices such as modems and routers by 20%.
The Small Network Equipment (SNE) Voluntary Agreement was initially adopted in 2015 based on a similar voluntary agreement for set-top boxes endorsed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in 2013.
Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said: "DOE supports efforts by industry to voluntarily improve their energy productivity. We believe in reducing regulatory burdens on American families and encouraging the adoption of voluntary industry standards."
The extension of the voluntary agreement commits signatories to meet more rigorous energy efficiency levels by 2020 that are on average 11% lower than the agreement's current levels.
"The four-year extension of the voluntary agreement demonstrates our industry's commitment to approaches that assure our customers benefit from energy efficiency measures while maintaining our ability to develop new services and equipment which they demand," said Neal Goldberg, NCTA's general counsel.
Agreement signatories include broadband Internet services providers serving 95 million U.S. households, 89% of the market. Service provider signatories include AT&T, Cablevision, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Cox Communications, Frontier and Verizon. Vendor signatories include Actiontec, ARRIS, D-Link, NETGEAR, Technicolor and Ubee Interactive.
"This initiative is part of ARRIS's broader commitment to energy conservation," said Robert Turner, who heads energy efficiency initiatives for ARRIS. "We share a common vision with our customers to combine energy efficiency with enhanced broadband experiences. We're doing our part by reducing environmental impact as we advance the state of our industry. And, we're building this change across our organization, by introducing new gigabit and WiFi services, improving the design of our products and redefining efficiency standards for our industry."
A report by independent auditor D+R International indicates that 99.2% of SNE devices purchased or sold at retail by participants in 2017 met the agreement's energy efficiency levels, with 100% of signatories meeting their commitment that 90% of their devices would meet those levels. The report estimates that the voluntary agreement improved the overall efficiency of SNE by nearly 20% compared to typical previously deployed devices.
"CTA applauds the networking technology companies and broadband service providers whose achievements under this voluntary agreement continue to meet the challenge of advancing energy efficiency in a dynamic product category," said Doug Johnson, vice president of technology policy, CTA. "Networking devices, and connected devices in general, have been a focus of the energy efficiency community globally. Voluntary agreements such as this one are a great way to deliver on our energy savings and carbon emissions goals while protecting innovation and competition. Across the board, tech devices are becoming more energy efficient as our industry innovates products, services and systems that cut consumers' costs and energy use."
"The signatories of the voluntary agreement have increased broadband speeds by nearly 60% from 2015 to 2017 while making the devices that deliver those services more energy efficient," said Debbie Fitzgerald, director of the energy efficiency program at CableLabs. "This remarkable achievement highlights the effectiveness of the voluntary agreement in enabling us to continue developing breakthrough innovations for consumers."