Airtel’s revolutionary agenda with Green initiative
As 2011 draws to a close, leading telecommunications operator, Airtel Nigeria sets the foundation for a better and cleaner environment with the signing of a historical agreement with Ericsson to upgrade 250 diesel powered stations across the country. This initiative will enable the company to harness solar and wind energy for the operation of its base stations.
Being the first company in the telecom industry to move in this progressive direction in Nigeria, Airtel brings hope and optimism for the future. Other businesses will hopefully follow this example, understanding the critical role they can play in the transition to a low carbon economy, and the advantages of freeing their operations from the dependency on public power supply and diesel.
During a tour at the first e-site completed in Lekki recently, chief operating officer Deepak Srivastava said that the company has invested 93 billion nairas ($600 million) in the past year to fund its network expansion in order to improve its services.
With the huge growth in the telecommunication industry, especially in developing markets, Airtel is looking at the long-term scheme of mobile telephony, as it takes on this green technology initiative in Nigeria. Not only is the company contributing to a better and cleaner environment, Airtel is looking ahead to the growing number of subscribers in the country, and especially those in the rural communities. It is estimated that 90% of future subscribers will be in developing markets with more than half of this population living outside the city limits where power is scarce and unreliable.
With this in mind, Airtel is creating the foundation that will enable the company to provide access to mobile services to everyone, improving on coverage and quality of service, whilst at the same time keeping telecommunications at affordable prices, since operating expenses will be sufficiently reduced through this “green” investment. The poor power supplies across the country to the company’s sites, Srivastava said, has been “responsible for over 70 percent of downtime, resulting in poor quality of service”. For him, the Green-Site would go a long way in addressing this critical challenge even as his company is also exploring other options including a partnership with the World Bank to address the nagging issue of power supply especially to the remote communities.
“Even as we pursue the Green-Site solution we have in the last six months installed dual generating sets in 200 sites as well as high back-up batteries in 600 sites. By March next year, we are looking at deploying an additional high capacity back up batteries and 500 new Generating Sets.”
With this ambitious agenda, Airtel proves its commitment to improving the capacity and robustness of the company’s network as the customer base grows. “Nigerians should rest assured that we will co-operate with the regulator to ensure that the prescribed quality standards are always met and even surpassed,” Srivastava added.
In a world where the effects of global warming are already felt strongly, there is urgent need for businesses to speed up the adoption of clean energy, especially in the telecom industry which is rapidly evolving into one of the largest consumers of diesel.
Airtel’s determination to make a positive socio-economic and environmental impact, contributing in building energy efficient and environmentally sustainable telecom infrastructure, is one more step towards its vision to becoming the most loved brand in the daily lives of Nigerians.