Nearly all (99.6%) of internet modems, routers and other equipment purchased and sold in 2018 for use by U.S. residential broadband subscribers met the energy-efficiency standards of the Voluntary Agreement for Ongoing Improvement to the Energy Efficiency of Small Network Equipment. The Agreement, led by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®, NCTA – The Internet & Television Association and CableLabs®, includes all major U.S. broadband internet service providers and retailers of small network equipment (SNE). Environmental Leader recently named the initiative Project of the Year, recognizing its ability to achieve energy efficiency in a rapidly-evolving product category.
According to a new report issued today by independent auditor D+R International:
- All signatories fulfilled their commitment that 90% of their new devices would meet the Agreement’s energy efficiency levels.
- Average idle mode energy usage of SNE relative to average broadband speed has decreased by 66% since the agreement was ratified in 2015.
- Internet service providers covering more than 87 million U.S. homes, which is nearly 90% of the residential U.S. Internet market, are signed onto the agreement.
“The signatories have increased their percentage of devices meeting Voluntary Agreement levels for three consecutive years while offering more capable and powerful broadband services and equipment to consumers,” said Neal Goldberg, NCTA General Counsel. Mr. Goldberg noted that “consumers have expected more from their home Internet devices to support higher-speed services, increased Wi-Fi capacity within their homes, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, which has challenged the industry to meet these demands while still improving energy efficiency.”
D+R’s report demonstrates the signatories have met that challenge, reporting a 66% decrease since 2015 in the average idle mode energy usage of new SNE relative to average broadband speed. The Voluntary Agreement commits signatories to meet more rigorous “Tier 2” energy efficiency levels by 2020, and D+R found 97.5% of devices already met these levels in 2018, two years ahead of schedule.
“The signatories have demonstrated their significant commitment to energy efficiency by going over and above their voluntary commitments to achieve the new levels two years early,” said Debbie Fitzgerald, director of the energy efficiency program at CableLabs. “However,” explained Ms. Fitzgerald, “work remains ahead to continue to offer devices that meet these rigorous energy standards in 2020 and beyond while still meeting consumer demands for ever-increasing functionality of their internet services.”
The Small Network Equipment Voluntary Agreement builds upon the success of a similar voluntary agreement for set-top boxes endorsed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Agreement signatories include the major broadband internet services providers (89% of the market): Altice, AT&T, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Frontier and Verizon, as well as leading device manufacturers: Actiontec, ARRIS/CommScope, NETGEAR, Technicolor and Ubee Interactive.
D+R verifies signatory energy compliance and savings through a review of lab verification reports of randomly selected models from each signatory, using an accredited third-party lab or under the supervision of an accredited third-party observer. In addition, as required by the Voluntary Agreement, D+R conducted a comprehensive audit of the data submitted by a randomly selected signatory and determined that the audited signatory data was consistent with its annual report.
“Innovation moves lightning fast – and rather than ‘rear-view’ regulation, policymakers should take note of these agreements’ success as they consider new initiatives for consumer technology and fast-changing product and equipment categories," said Doug Johnson, vice president of technology policy, CTA. “The continuing success of our industry’s SNE agreement validates the emerging worldwide consensus that voluntary agreements are the best way to deliver more energy efficiency products in the market."
More information about the industry’s voluntary agreements and energy efficiency efforts is available at www.energy-efficiency.us.