For all the bright, sunny positives that 5G wireless communications technology offers to consumers, businesses and first responders — increased capacity, speed, reliability and connectivity — a large looming cloud persists: Power-hungry 5G base stations can consume up to three times more power than 4G and LTE networks. This massive electricity consumption leaves a bigger carbon footprint on the environment and could be a big problem for countries that depend on fossil fuels for electricity generation.
Last week, AT&T announced its plans to target eliminating 1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, working with Microsoft, universities and other alliances to unleash the power of 5G and other broadband technologies through the AT&T Connected Climate Initiative.
AT&T says it has set an industry-leading target to help businesses collectively reduce a gigaton of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions — 1 billion metric tons — by 2035, an effort which will contribute to a better, more sustainable world. A gigaton is equal to approximately 15 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 3 percent of global energy-related emissions in 2020 — or 1.6 billion flights from Los Angeles to New York.
AT&T will work with businesses including Microsoft, Equinix and Duke Energy, along with research universities, and a range of other organizations to deliver broadband-enabled climate solutions at global scale. This collaborative builds on AT&T’s standing commitment to aggressively reduce our own emissions, while enabling the transition to a net-zero economy.
T-Mobile moved early on renewable energy. In June 2020, the nonprofit Green America Wireless Scorecard, which measures clean energy usage and reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions within the wireless industry, named T-Mobile the top carrier for Clean Energy Commitment — for the third year in a row.
According to a company spokesperson, T-Mobile was the first in the industry to set two carbon reduction targets validated by the Science-Based Targets Initiative to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and prevent the worst effects of climate change:
Target 1: Reduce combined absolute Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions 95 percent by 2025 from a 2016 base year;
2020 Progress: Combined Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions decreased by 22.2 percent since 2016;
Target 2: Reduce Scope 3 GHG emissions 15 percent per customer by 2025 from a 2016 base year;
2020 Progress: Scope 3 emissions intensity decreased by 14.5 percent per customer since 2016.
T-Mobile also set an industry first in 2018 by joining the RE100 pledge, a global initiative bringing together the world’s most influential businesses committed to 100 percent renewable electricity. “A few years and one historic merger later, we’re still on track,” the T-Mobile spokesperson said, detailing this progress: “RE100 Pledge: Source renewable energy equivalent to 100 percent of our total electricity usage by the end of 2021. 2020 Progress: As the supercharged Un-carrier, 25.3 percent of T-Mobile’s electricity usage relied on renewable energy. 2021 Progress: We’ve signed renewable energy contracts for over 3.5 million MWh. Through June 30, 2021, we have sourced 75 percent of our electricity usage from renewable sources and are tracking to reach 100 percent by the end of the year.”
Meanwhile, in 2019, Verizon set an ambitious goal to achieve net zero operational emissions by 2035 and committed to source or generate renewable energy equivalent to 50 percent of its annual electricity consumption by 2025. In January 2021, Verizon announced that it became a leading corporate buyer of U.S. renewable energy, entering into thirteen long-term renewable energy purchase agreements totaling nearly 1.7 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity since December 2019. Verizon also activated more than 8 megawatts (MW) of additional on-site solar energy at eight of its facilities during 2020. Since 2013 the company has installed more than 28 MW of green power at 26 onsite locations.
Two weeks ago, Verizon issued its Green Bond Impact Report, outlining the full allocation of the nearly $1 billion of net proceeds from its second green bond. Verizon became the first U.S. telecom company to issue a green bond back in February 2019. In September 2020, the company issued its second green bond, and remains the only U.S. telecommunications company to complete the full allocation of two green bonds.
“To date, we have issued $2 billion in green bonds that support the transition to a greener grid and help us achieve our ambitious goal of net zero emissions in our operations by 2035,” said Matt Ellis, Verizon’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. “Verizon’s green bond projects demonstrate our long-term commitment to minimize our environmental impact, drive operating efficiencies and benefit the communities we serve.”
Verizon has fully allocated the net proceeds of its second green bond entirely to virtual power purchase agreements for renewable energy projects. These projects are for approximately 1 GW of new renewable energy generating capacity across seven states, of which about 83 percent is solar energy generating capacity and 17 percent is wind energy generating capacity.
The use of proceeds from the bond is part of Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental and social advancement. The Green Bond Impact Report can be found on the company’s fixed income investor relations site. For more information, visit https://www.verizon.com/about/investors/green-bond-reports.
Mike Harrington is a contributing editor
AT&T has signed a strategic agreement with OneWeb, the low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, to harness the capabilities of satellite technology to improve access for AT&T business customers into remote and challenging geographic locations. AT&T says the new connectivity will complement its existing access technologies.
AT&T will use this technology to enhance connectivity when connecting to its enterprise, small and medium-sized business and government customers as well as hard-to-reach cell towers. The company says its business fiber network enables high-speed connections to over 2.5 million U.S. business customer locations. Nationwide, more than 9 million business customer locations are within 1,000 feet of AT&T fiber. However, there are still remote areas that existing networks can’t reach with the high-speed, low-latency broadband essential to business operations.
According to AT&T, the AT&T service will be supported by OneWeb’s network of satellites. OneWeb has launched 288 satellites and expects to attain global coverage with a total fleet of 648 satellites by the end of 2022. AT&T business and government customers in Alaska and northern U.S. states will be covered later this year.
“Working with OneWeb, we’ll be able to enhance high-speed connectivity in places that we don’t serve today and meet our customers wherever they are,” said Scott Mair, president, network engineering and operations, AT&T. “We’re expanding our network with one more option to help ensure that our business customers have the high-speed, low-latency connectivity they need to thrive as the nation recovers from COVID-19.”
“OneWeb’s enterprise-grade network has a unique capability to serve hard-to-reach businesses and communities. Our work with AT&T will focus on how satellite technology can support improved capacity and coverage in remote, rural and challenging geographic locations,” said Neil Masterson, OneWeb chief executive officer. “Today’s agreement with AT&T demonstrates OneWeb’s execution momentum and the confidence customers such as AT&T have in its services and offering.”
OneWeb is a global communications network powered from space, headquartered in London, enabling connectivity for governments, businesses, and communities. It is implementing a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites with a network of global gateway stations and a range of user terminals to provide an affordable, fast, high-bandwidth and low-latency communications service, connected to the IoT future and a pathway to 5G for everyone, everywhere. For more information, visit http://www.oneweb.world
Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) today crowned AT&T as the best overall network in its fourth annual OneScore ranking.
AT&T finished first in GWS’s categories of Nation’s Best Overall Network and Best 5G Network, while Verizon finished second, and T-Mobile placed third.
GWS bases its OneScore ranking on a combination of direct network testing and an online consumer survey of 5,000 U.S. adults 50 states. For the first time, this award combined AT&T 5G with its 4G and LTE networks, according to GWS.
According to GWS, the OneScore ranking is the most definitive evaluation of 4G and 5G networks, because it combines controlled, scientific tests of the major networks with consumer survey feedback that identifies performance factors and features most important to consumers. GWS said that the 2021 OneScore survey also focused heavily on consumers’ perceptions on 5G availability and benefits, as 62 percent of consumers surveyed indicated they had 5G coverage available where they lived.
“We’ve invested significantly in our network, simplified our plans while adding value, expanded our deals to new and existing customers and continued to strive for excellence each and every day,” said Jenifer Robertson, executive vice president and general manager of AT&T Mobility. “Those efforts have landed us here, as the best 5G and overall wireless network in the United States.”
In the wake of Hurricane Ida’s path of destruction, power restoration to some areas of storm-ravaged southeast Louisiana could take weeks, hampering the efforts of the FCC and wireless providers to fully restore emergency and consumer cellular service.
The second-most damaging storm in Louisiana history — after Katrina, and the strongest storm ever to hit the state — the Category 4 Hurricane Ida caused widespread mobile wireless and fiber disruptions when it slammed into southeast Louisiana, knocking out most of the New Orleans metro area’s power and disabling much of AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile’s wireless services.
At the height of Hurricane Ida’s flooding and wind damage on Aug. 30, the day after hurricane winds made landfall, AT&T said that 60 percent of its network in Louisiana was working. T-Mobile said that around 70 percent of its network was in operation in Alabama and Louisiana on Aug.30, but did not disclose the specific effect on the latter state. Verizon did not disclose the peak effect of the storm on its network, but by Sept. 2, said that “90 percent of Verizon cell sites that were in the path of the storm are in service.”
By Sept. 3, an AT&T press release said that it had restored most services, and was “operating at more than 94 percent of normal.” The company added, “We now have a total of 23 on-air mobile cell site solutions supporting customers and first responders.” AT&T also said, “Despite commercial power outages, all of our wireline centers remain in service as we continue to place and refuel generators.”
Similarly, a T-Mobile prepared statement said that “some sites that were previously impacted in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama were restored overnight as our crews have worked tirelessly to deploy large numbers of generators and rapidly power them up again.”
Around a quarter of cellular sites in southeast Louisiana remained offline by Sept. 2, though more than half of the towers initially knocked out had been repaired, according to a report from the FCC. About 700 of the affected area’s 2,759 cellular sites were still down. The affected area includes Acadiana and southeast Louisiana.
On Aug. 30, more than half of the cellular sites were down. About 61 percent of the remaining offline towers were without power, according to the FCC, and a little more than a quarter had sustained damage to their network that transports communications to and from the site. About 15 percent of sites had physical damage from the storm.
Another FCC report showed that as of 11 a.m. Aug. 31, 52 percent of 2,759 cellular sites across 31 Louisiana parishes were offline as a result of the hurricane. The majority of the downed towers — nearly 65 percent — were offline due to a lack of power, a problem that could persist for weeks in some parts of the state. In some cases, cell sites are down due to multiple issues, such as power outages, damage to the network or damage to the site itself.
On Sept. 3, the FCC took a series of actions to extend deadlines and waive rules to assist consumers, licensees and communications providers in Louisiana and Mississippi affected by Hurricane Ida. “The FCC is working around the clock in coordination with government partners and industry to support the restoration of vital communications services after the destruction of Hurricane Ida,” FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said on Sept 3.
“We’re extending deadlines for our universal service and other relief programs, including the Emergency Connectivity Fund and Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, to better assist consumers and providers in affected areas,” Rosenworcel said. “We are also extending filing deadlines for Form 477 broadband data reports, and extending filing and regulatory deadlines for wireless and public safety licensees in affected areas. Meanwhile, we will continue to support recovery efforts and monitor the effects of the storm nationwide. We offer our deep condolences to those who lost family members or whose homes and property were destroyed in this devastating hurricane.”
On Sept. 3, AT&T reported: “Our wireless network in Louisiana currently operating at more than 98 percent of normal. We continue to maintain and refuel more than 200 generators currently providing power to equipment there. Our wireless network in both Alabama and Mississippi are operating normally. More than 70 crews are continuing to work across Louisiana to keep our customers, their families and first responders connected”
AT&T also reported that it had deployed its FirstNet Communications Vehicle to a heavily affected area in Louisiana to provide an extra level of support. In addition to providing LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity, this CV offers an air-conditioned command space for first responder personnel and is equipped with multiple monitors, charging stations, a television and a large exterior screen and speakers that can be used for briefings, according to AT&T.
The AT&T report also said, “In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, we are also preparing to launch FirstNet One, an aerostat blimp that functions as an LTE tower in the sky to support first responders and the extended public safety community in the area. FirstNet One will launch in Raceland, an area that includes a major hospital, a main roadway corridor to the Grand Isle community and is serving as a staging area for mutual-aid support. So far, public safety — spanning federal, state and local agencies — have made nearly 60 FirstNet emergency support requests for Ida.”
Meanwhile, the Verizon Response Team arrived in Southeastern Louisiana on Aug. 30 to deliver Verizon Frontline technology to first responders conducting search and rescue and disaster response operations in some of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Ida.
The Response Team was pre-positioned just outside of the expected storm track, enabling a rapid response effort when conditions permitted and allowing the team to quickly distribute mission-critical communication technology to federal, state and local government and public safety agencies operating in storm-damaged areas of Louisiana.
According to Verizon, collaborating with emergency management officials across affected regions of the state, the Verizon Response Team has deployed a wide range of Verizon Frontline technology, including satellite pico-cells on trailers (SPOTs), network extenders, routers, mobile hotspots and phones to provide critical voice and data service to public safety professionals dealing with the devastation left in the wake of the powerful Category 4 storm.
Verizon said the Verizon Response Team is expected to remain on scene as long as needed to assist public safety agencies as it continues to conduct search and rescue operations and deal with widespread power outages, flooding and catastrophic storm damage. The Verizon Response Team provides on-demand, emergency assistance during crisis situations to government agencies, emergency responders, nonprofits and communities on a continuous basis.
Verizon Response team members provide Verizon Frontline technology including portable cell sites, Wi-Fi hotspots, free charging stations and other devices and solutions that enable communications and/or boost network performance.
By Sept. 6, most cellular service had been restored throughout Louisiana. However, there was still limited ability to transmit live out of the hardest-hit areas in southeast Louisiana, including parts of New Orleans and Houma, due to a lack of cell towers. Verizon is giving customers in hurricane ravaged areas unlimited data through Sept 10; AT&T through Sept 14.
Mike Harrington is a contributing editor.
Cradlepoint, a provider of cloud-delivered LTE and 5G wireless network edge solutions, has expanded its AT&T 5G for Enterprise solutions with the certification of its outdoor W4005 wideband adapter for ultra-high-speed connectivity for millimeter-wave (high-band) connections on the AT&T 5G+ network.
Model W4005 joins the portfolio of 5G for Enterprise solutions for branch and mobile use announced in May 2021. The AT&T 5G+ network is expected to cover parts of over 40 cities and 40 venues by the end of this year. It provides super-fast speeds, reliability and heightened security whether using for work, streaming an education class online or providing fiber-fast primary or failover wide-area network (WAN) connectivity at critical branch sites.
According to Cradlepoint, the new AT&T 5G+ certification cements the Cradlepoint-AT&T combined network offerings as a comprehensive portfolio of 5G solutions in the United States that bring the benefits of 5G+ to the business-critical uses — all while helping to meet IT organizations’ stringent security and management requirements. The solution combines Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Service and Cellular Intelligence in a second-generation, ruggedized outdoor unit engineered to receive super-fast, millimeter-wave 5G signals.
With certification of model W4005, Cradlepoint said it now provides ways to connect 5G for enterprises – from the nationwide coverage of AT&T 5G to the high-capacity and super-fast speeds of AT&T 5G+.
“The AT&T 5G and 5G+ networks have the ability to meet a broad range of customer use cases, from nationwide coverage to super-fast local connectivity,” said William Stovall, vice president of mobility and internet of things at AT&T. “Whatever 5G means to a business and virtually wherever they want to take advantage of it, AT&T and Cradlepoint have enterprise-class solutions that can support it today.”
Marc Bresniker, senior vice president of product management at Cradlepoint, said that 5G is the catalyst to ushering in a fast and agile wireless WAN that will help transform how enterprise and government organizations generate revenue, streamline operations and serve customers. “Cradlepoint is committed to delivering the most complete, enterprise-class and IT-centric 5G solutions in the market,” he said. “We are demonstrating this commitment today with certification of our millimeter-wave W4005 wideband adapter on the AT&T 5G+ network.”