Internet is internet...right?! Guest author Spencer Hogg of Broadband Expert gives us some important tips about shopping for a green internet service provider.
With increased interest in sustainability, the past few years have seen the integration of green ideals and techniques in non-traditional industries. A prime example of this is the internet service provider (ISP) industry. ISPs generally don't directly release pollutants into our air and chemicals into our water, but they do consume copious amounts of power, which contributes to a larger carbon impact.
But what does it actually mean to be a green ISP? Most consumers, even the most environmentally conscious among us, can’t answer that question fully. The problem with that is that the broadband companies want your business, and they'll advertise themselves as green in order to get it. Nevertheless, how do you as a consumer know that you’re getting what you pay for if you’re not fully aware of what it means to be a green ISP and supply green broadband?
The core factor in any green ISP is that they operate on renewable energy, typically solar, as much as possible. Keep in mind that it's not currently feasible to operate an ISP completely on solar power. However, an ISP can take great steps toward being carbon neutral by having solar-powered offices and by solar-powering their services as much as possible. Another important factor is using office materials that are recycled and environment friendly.
Be aware that it is legal for an ISP to market itself as green or solar-powered even if the renewable energy only accounts for a fraction of their power usage. That’s why it's important as an environmentally conscious consumer to investigate beyond the adverts and hype. An ISP that truly puts the focus on being green will entice employees to use public transportation and they'll work diligently alongside environmental charities and organisations.
As you shop for your green ISP, keep in mind the cost of clean energy. When an ISP makes a commitment to green broadband, this commitment costs them money because they’re no longer playing on an even pitch. As consumers who demand green services and products, we have to be willing to pick up part of the slack. So when you evaluate a green ISP’s rates, do so against other green ISPs and not the providers serving you without thought for the environment.
Nevertheless, you don’t have to expect large premiums on green ISP services. As the industry continues to shift in that direction, services and products needed by the ISP become more available and thus cheaper. New green ISPs continue to emerge, and many existing ISPs continue to make the transition. As competition increases, rates fall. The gap between green broadband and traditional broadband rates has closed considerably in just several years.
Making the transition to green broadband does not have to be a big headache. In fact, most green ISPs are well versed in the difficulties. If you call one of the good ones, they can walk you through the process. That means explaining to you how they offset the carbon footprint caused by serving you. It also means configuring the new service, if necessary, so that you can continue to pay the same or less than you were paying with your last ISP.