Hawaiian Telcom’s Climate Action Plan builds on its mission to expand fiber network
In celebration of Earth Month, Hawaiian Telcom is sharing information about its climate action plan that aims to reduce the company’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40% in seven years.
Key components of the plan are to significantly reduce carbon emissions by serving customers via energy-efficient fiber-optic cables, and aggressively reducing power used by its legacy copper network.
Fiber is 100 times more energy-efficient than copper, according to data cited by trade association US Telecom. It requires less energy to transmit data, which translates to decreased GHG emissions, according to the company.
A head-to-head life-cycle analysis by Corning found “that to achieve the same transmission capacity over the same reach, [a] twisted copper pair has a carbon footprint 85,000 times higher than that of optical fiber.”
“Our climate action plan supports and complements our mission to connect and empower our Hawai‘i by expanding our fiber-optic infrastructure. We enhance service to our customers and reduce unwanted emissions by replacing the energy-intensive copper network with greener fiber,” said Nadja Turek, Sustainability Director for Hawaiian Telcom in a company news release. “Fiber not only provides exponentially faster internet speeds and increased reliability for our customers, it is also better for the environment.”
Fiber-optic cables carry 10,000 times more bandwidth than traditional copper cables, enabling faster upload speeds that provide a better experience for video calls, file uploads, and security cameras. Fiber cables are also more durable and less susceptible to elements such as water and electromagnetic interference, according to Hawaiian Telcom.
In 2022, Hawaiian Telcom invested $160 million in private capital to expand and support its fiber infrastructure. Approximately 268,000 homes and businesses in Hawai‘i now have access to Hawaiian Telcom’s 100% fiber internet service Fioptics with the fastest upload speed in the state of 500 megabits per second (Mbps) and ultra-fast one gigabit download speed.
Hawaiian Telcom is pioneering a process to migrate customers served by its ‘Āina Haina Central Office to fiber-based services. When all customers have moved to fiber services, Hawaiian Telcom can retire the copper network in this location, which will result in 112,000 fewer kilowatt-hours of power and reduce carbon-dioxide-equivalent emissions by 63 metric tons. The climate action plan calls for scores of such reductions to achieve its overall goals, and will evolve based on lessons learned from the ‘Āina Haina project.
In addition to fiber expansion, Hawaiian Telcom’s climate action plan accelerates existing initiatives to de-carbonize its network, facilities and fleet. Over the past 10 years the company has installed solar photovoltaic panels on its building rooftops and properties throughout the state which now produce nearly 10% of its electrical power. The plan seeks to continue building new solar at additional locations throughout the state.
Hawaiian Telcom has also begun a trial using Hawai‘i-made biodiesel fuel – a renewable, biodegradable fuel alternative made from waste oils – in some of its vehicles and plans to add electric vehicles to its fleet.