Award:PTC'23 Emerging Scholar
The environmental impact of information and communications technology, particularly from data centers, has become a topic of concern. However, the subsea telecommunications network--which carries almost all transoceanic Internet traffic--is largely omitted from carbon footprinting studies of the global Internet. Installing, maintaining, and repairing these cables requires a carbon intensive marine fleet, and many owners and operators have begun to develop sustainability initiatives. In turn, ports have also initiated projects that encourage ships to adopt sustainable practices. These efforts, we find, have occurred largely independent of one another. This article argues that we should look acrossports' and telecoms' sustainable developments, and find ways to facilitate conversations between the two industries. Drawing from interviews with port authorities, port organizations, and cable ship operators, I suggest that shore power and new energy carriers areleading solutions to reduce emissions. Voyage optimization and carbon capture utilization are offered as additional solutions towards decarbonization efforts. Kite systems and fuel cells are of particular interest for the subsea cable industry as they can be retrofitted to existing fleets. More bilateral connections are needed, however, to facilitate this uptake, leverage business relationships, and encourage vessels in their operation and supply chain to implement these technologies.