What the Alliance for the Strengthening of Digital Infrastructures in Germany stands for
THE INTERNET IS THE BASIS for Germany as a functioning business location and for an open and free society. The Internet industry is a key sector and a growth engine of our time: Its share in the overall economy has been rising continuously for years.
However, while providers of large social media platforms are often in the focus of political and public attention, the companies at the beginning of the Internet value chain – namely operators of digital infrastructures such as data centres and providers of colocation facilities – remain, along with their merits and their challenges, largely unknown. Nevertheless, this industry is of outstanding importance for a successful digital transformation in Germany.
Operators of digital infrastructures play a major role in the digital performance and economic viability of Germany as a business location. The sector is a growth engine, innovation driver, and multiplier for other industries (especially in the Industry 4.0 sector), as well as a guarantor of tax revenues and employment.
In order to draw attention to the importance of digital infrastructures in Germany and to enter into a constructive dialogue with politicians, leading companies from various branches of the digital infrastructure industry, such as data centre operators, co-location providers, Internet service providers, carriers, cloud providers, software manufacturers, and representatives from the application industry have now joined forces under the umbrella of eco – Association of the Internet Industry to form the Alliance for Strengthening of Digital Infrastructures.
As the largest European association of the Internet industry, eco represents more than 1,100 member companies and has, for more than 20 years, been committed to future-oriented network policy and the constructive exchange between politics and industry.
Energy-efficient data centres: How everyone stands to benefit
German data centres are among the most energy-efficient in the world – but there is still room for improvement. Those who invest in improved energy efficiency enjoy a twofold benefit: a smaller energy requirement not only reduces CO2 emissions, but also simultaneously lowers operating costs. The video below shows how waste heat from data centres can also be sustainably utilised and why politics and the industry should continue to drive the expansion of digital infrastructures forward.
eco Alliance formulates 6 positions on the sustainability potential of digital infrastructures
- Digital infrastructures are part of the solution for achieving the climate goals: Data centres, broadband access and 5G networks are a key prerequisite for ecologically sustainable digitalisation and make a significant contribution to achieving Germany’s and Europe’s climate goals.
- The migration from in-house server infrastructures to cloud solutions offers high potential for increasing energy and resource efficiency and thus improving climate protection.
- A faster, politically controlled phase-out of coal in Germany, and a simultaneous accelerated expansion of renewable energies in power generation – for example, through so-called Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) – will lead to a much stronger and, above all, faster reduction in CO 2 emissions via digital infrastructures.
- Artificial intelligence is enabling new and efficient product development, production processes and services that will contribute to the sustainable development of individual value chains or entire industries.
- Increasing digitalisation is accelerating the need for data centre capacities. The highest sustainability potentials are offered by an intelligent and sustainable combination of city and spatial planning as well as energy and data networks – in both urban and rural areas.
- Data centres offer a valuable source of heat. If the necessary political, societal and economic framework conditions for the utilisation of waste heat are created, data centres in this country can contribute more than 10 terawatt hours per year to Germany’s heating needs.
The above positions on the sustainability potential of digital infrastructures are derived from the study “Data Centres in Europe – Opportunities for Sustainable Digitalisation”, which the Alliance for the Strengthening of Digital Infrastructures in Germany, founded under the umbrella of eco – Association of the Internet Industry, published in 2020 with the support of the Vodafone Institute for Society and Communication, with the study undertaken by the Borderstep Institute.