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Greening the Globe network

Globe Telecom announced recently that its current network will undergo a radical change by transforming its facilities into "green" infrastructures all over the country, taking on the challenge of an ecologically-responsible organization as it pushes on with its nationwide modernization.

"We envision the new facility layer of the Globe network as less demanding on power and fuel by introducing cost-effective, environment-friendly and practically designed measures to maximize operational benefits of new technologies," Globe Chief Technical Advisor Robert Tan said.

For instance, sites without permanent commercial power grids will have to be studied for solar power potential, and at the same time consider the type of terrain to minimize cost in hauling the solar-driven equipment. Essential equipment such as base transceiver stations or BTS which enable wireless communications between the network and its subscribers will be converted into outdoor setups with enough space so that power costs due to cooling will be less.

"Metropolitan areas or commercial business districts will achieve power protection through agreement with building owners by allowing Globe to tap into the building's emergency power systems. This type of arrangement saves huge capital expenditures in constructing generator set (genset) facilities. Meanwhile, those located in areas where commercial power is unreliable will be provided with deep-cycle batteries coupled designed with efficient gensets to provide rapid battery charging rates and address regular commercial power outages," Tan explained.

To reduce its carbon footprint, Tan said that Globe is deploying solar power solutions for "off-grid" sites where commercial supply is not available. With solar and genset hybrid solutions, runtime of generators are dramatically reduced by 80%, translating to about 70% in savings.

Deep cycle battery for "bad grid sites" will also drive down fuel consumption by 50% and maintenance costs by 40%. Cooling boxes for batteries are being deployed to cut back on air conditioning usage by 70%. Free cooling solutions such as fan ventilators are being deployed as new generation equipment can operate in higher ambient temperatures inside the shelter.

These "green" initiatives and more have so far been implemented in 434 sites out of a total of more than 6,000, with the program gathering momentum for full completion in 2013. Tan clarified that "in the midst of the company's aggressive radio access network (RAN) and core roll-out, we acknowledge the urgent need to address commercial power reliability in certain areas. Hence, parallel tracks in deploying and replacing ageing gensets, batteries and even rectifiers are being pursued. This is to ensure that operational benefits of a transformed network can be realized much earlier."

According to Tan, the eco-friendly measures are beginning to generate savings based on the replaced sites such as modernized network in Davao. To sustain this, the grand plan is to use more natural and efficient means to harness and generate power for more sites, such as solar power, and moving indoor sites to outdoor models. These will be done through power system upgrades to increase reliability and availability while reducing costs at the same time.

With all these power solutions in place, Tan envisions of "building a brand new, world-class, robust and future-proof, all-IP network for a superior customer experience, which is a complete change-out from access all the way to the core. This will lead to (1) robust capacity (2) enhanced 2G/3G coverage and signal (3) proactive systems to see and diagnose the performance of the each network element – down to facility management systems for real-time monitoring of the energy consumptions and environmental conditions (4) improved reliability and availability, and (5) green-network to increase power efficiency as a critical factor to sustainability."

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