i3 | May 07, 2019

Altice USA Joins Industry Voluntary Agreements

by 
Elliot Grimm

As more U.S. homes are watching television and connecting to the internet every year, CTA and the Internet & Television Association (NCTA) have been working with pay-TV and broadband service providers to help homes reduce energy usage and save money. Since 2013, two voluntary agreements for set-top boxes and home internet devices have saved consumers more than $3.5 billion in electricity costs and avoided more than 20 million metric tons of CO2 emissions.

And now, millions more consumers will see those benefits first-hand. Telecom provider Altice USA has become the latest signatory to the industry’s voluntary agreements, joining a commitment to make their video and broadband devices more energy efficient.

As a signatory, Altice will boost the agreements’ coverage by some 1.4 million broadband customers and one million video customers. The increase pushes the small network equipment agreement’s coverage of the nation’s residential broadband internet market to more than 90 percent. “The addition of Altice USA means almost every American home that subscribes to broadband or pay-TV services will enjoy more energy efficient devices and lower energy bills,” says Doug Johnson, vice president of technology policy at CTA.

Last year, independent auditor D+R International found that home internet devices such as modems and routers, were nearly 20 percent more energy efficient than they were before the voluntary agreement for small network equipment. D+R also reported the strongest year yet in achieving savings under the agreement for set-top boxes. In total, consumers saved a tremendous $3.5 billion ($1.4 billion in 2017 alone) and avoided more than 20 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions during the five years since the agreement was launched.

Altice joins several other of the nation’s largest consumer pay-TV and broadband service providers and equipment manufacturers already working under the agreements, including AT&T/DIRECTV, CenturyLink, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Cox Communications, Frontier and Verizon. When joining, signatories commit to a goal that 90 percent of their annual set-top box and small network equipment purchases and retail sales meet rigorous energy-efficiency levels set out in the agreements.

In 2016, the set-top box agreement was awarded an Environmental Leader Project of the Year. The judges cited the initiative’s success in establishing a collaborative effort that significantly reduced the industry’s impact on the environment while saving consumers hundreds of millions of dollars.

Beyond set-top boxes and broadband equipment, a new CTA report found that while the number of tech devices in our homes has increased, their share of total energy use is steadily shrinking. U.S. households’ consumer tech devices consume 25 percent less energy than they did in 2010. The industry’s success is attributed to more lightweight materials and energy efficient technologies, as well as the convergence of multi-function devices and continuous innovation.

Last year, CTA and NCTA announced the renewal of both the set-top box and small network equipment voluntary agreements, which include even more rigorous energy efficiency target levels for deployed devices.