16 Nov 2009
While most carriers are reluctant even to set targets for reducing their carbon footprint, Australian ISP Internode has already been carbon-neutral for a year.
The company, which has over 170,000 subscribers Australia-wide, sources 100% of its electricity needs from renewable energy, and has molded its equipment upgrade purchasing decisions towards energy efficiency and sustainability.
The brainchild of the drive is owner Simon Hackett, a long-time environmental activist – just this month, he drove across Australia in the world's first fully electric sports car, to promote the adoption of electric charging facilities in petrol stations.
“[Hackett] looked at the really very large amount of power that Internode consumes across the world, and thought, 'there's something that could be done here',” Internode carrier relations manager John Lindsay said.
“On a commercial level, the business looked at it and said it comes at an expense, but it's probably an expense that is commercially justifiable.”
The company has also started to invest in its own renewable energy infrastructure, choosing to run a number of remote sites via solar cells. With operators forced to pay a premium for piping power to remote areas - and to provide expensive, long-lasting battery backups - it is becoming cost-competitive to run these sites on solar, Lindsay said.
The company has also spent around A$500,000 ($467,000) on a Cisco telepresence system, to help get around the fact that the business hubs of the Australian telecom industry are in Sydney and Melbourne, hundreds of kilometers from Internode's head office in Adelaide.