Thursday, July 03, 2014

Media: LTE Uses 40 Times the Electricity of DAB+

Some antenna towers must be secured better than others. This is on Faroe Islands. 

No, you didn't misread. And that is for poorer coverage too, according to Teknisk vekeblad. We are not looking at a minor difference, we are talking 40 times the usage.

I have admittedly written about this matter a couple of times before.
"LTE Broadcast" - The Next Hyped Broadcasting Challenger.
Why 4G is hyped.
Broadcasting 7 Times Greener Than Streaming.
There is of course no reason to believe a mere media and travel blogger. Teknisk vekeblad is however Norway's leading engineering journal. Journalist Odd Richard Valmot mentions a few problems with LTE in his article. 
  1. LTE is to distribution what heavy eaters are to all-you-can-eat buffets, he writes. A few too many of them can cause bankruptcy. For the restaurant. The same applies to bandwidth. There just isn't enough around, and since LTE is a one-to-one technology, heavy consumers affect all others. That is not the case with broadcasting, a one-to-all technology, where everyone gets as much as they want. 
  2. A fiber network can ease some of the problems, but more and more of internet usage now happens on mobile devices, without a plug in the wall.
  3. Quality of service is important, something that greatly favours a broadcasting network, with an identical load at all times and a much better coverage (due to lower frequencies). The average Norwegian listens to 92 minutes of radio every day. If that were to be streamed, it would mean 135MB a day, or 4.1GB per month. That by far outdoes most contracts you will get with a telecom operator. And this is only for your radio needs. In most European countries the average person listens much longer to radio than in Norway (there are even many more people in most European countries too). 
  4. Telecom operators are not required to deliver in case of emergencies or force majeure. Broadcasters, at least public service broadcasters, have to. I mean, that is when you really HAVE to get potentially life saving info across. 
  5. And finally, the electricity difference is humongous. NRKs DAB+ network, that covers 99.5% of the Norwegian population (yes, that is indoor coverage), uses less than 1 million GBP (10 million NOK) worth of electricity a year. And the DAB+ network delivers NRK's 14 radio station to everyone. That is a democratization of radio, ladies and gents. Valmot estimates that the 20,000 LTE base stations in Norway (that cover only 85% of the population) use 40 million GBP (400 million NOK) worth of electricity. Every year. For 85% coverage. Only 765 transmitters are needed to cover 99.5% of Norway with DAB+.  

26 times the number of transmitters/base stations.
40 times the electricity. 
85% of the coverage. 
And ∞ the price. Since you pay for web access, whereas radio is free. 

I'd normally rest my case. My point is still that we need both broadcasting and the internet. The latter will never and should never solve everything.