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SCTE Powers Up 'Green' Group

The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers is energized about a new program that aims to cut cable operators' electricity bills, as well as reduce the industry's overall environmental impact.

The association's Smart Energy Management Initiative, or SEMI, will comprise meetings and forums to raise awareness about environmentally friendly and sustainable procedures and products. The program also could result in energy-efficiency standards for networking equipment, SCTE president and CEO Mark Dzuban said.

"The most important thing to me is that the industry is making the commitment to go down this energy-management path from a business and public benefit standpoint," he said.

Representatives from 10 cable operators, including Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications, are part of the initial SEMI leadership group, according to Dzuban. Participating vendors include CommScope and Alpha Technologies, a supplier of telecom power supplies and related equipment.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association also is lending support to the program. "The cable industry recognizes that we must find new and creative ways to implement ‘green' solutions that will maximize energy efficiency, reduce our overall carbon footprint and increase use of alternative energy sources," NCTA president and CEO Kyle McSlarrow said in a statement.

The program crystallizes efforts the SCTE began with its first "Green Pavilion" vendor showcase at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in 2009. The first official SEMI meeting, which Dzuban called a "think tank event," will be April 7 at the Comcast Center in Philadelphia. The SCTE will feature a second Green Pavilion showcase at Cable-Tec Expo 2010, set for Oct. 20-22 in New Orleans, and plans to hold a SEMI meeting in Herndon, Va., in November.

SEMI's areas of focus will include finding ways to calculate baseline energy usage; providing information on alternative heating and cooling solutions; and reducing outside plant powering costs and consumption. Recycling and recovery techniques to minimize the disposal effects of outdated equipment are also in its purview.

"We have MSOs being proactive about this saying, ‘We have a problem-let's collectively figure it out,'" Dzuban said.

SCTE expects to name a chairperson and other leaders for SEMI in February. The association has established an e-mail address (energy@scte.org) for inquiries and input about the program.