Sobriety plan and Internet box: the government wants to automatically put them on standby

It was in the middle of summer that the government began to prepare people’s minds for the difficult winter that is looming in terms of energy, invoking sobriety measures in a very tense context, the fault of Russian gas supplies being cut and to a nuclear fleet that is half shut down. Thus, at the end of the Council of Ministers of July 20, 2022, government spokesman Olivier Véran demanded “an effort” to all French people, reminding them of the little everyday eco-gestures such as “cut wifi”which, at the time of presidential outings on jet skis and the debate on private jets, has earned this same government some taunts.

In the meantime, the situation has not improved and, with the approach of the cold season, the executive seems ready to take a number of additional measures to “spend the winter”, including those good old Internet boxes that he keeps as his target. Even if the weight of digital technology in a household’s energy expenditure remains modest (around 13%) and the average electricity consumption of operators’ boxes only accounts for 19% of it according to Ademe (far behind the television or computer), the government defends the idea that all energy savings are good to take.

While Enedis has planned a measure allowing it to block the start-up of the water heater on the meridian beach during off-peak hours, the State is considering the possibility of asking operators to force the standby of Internet boxes on certain time slots and/or periods of non-use. In any case, this is the speech given yesterday, October 10, 2022, by Jean-Noël Barrot, Minister for the Digital Transition.

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On European 1he stated : “The objective is to reduce energy consumption without requiring excessive efforts from the French. Today there are boxes, decoders, which automatically go into standby, but all this is not uniform. Therefore, the commitments made by the sector, it is either, for the existing boxes already installed, to make an update which allows this more systematic standby, or, for the new boxes which will be sold, that this update standby is installed by default so that it is transparent for the French.”

Here he takes up points raised on October 7 by the Élysée in his “detailed sobriety plan” according to which “every gesture counts”. “Sector players will define the criteria for configuring Internet boxes and TV decoders for standby when not in use”, can we read black on white in the press kit, with an information note according to which an ADLS or fiber optic box consumes an average of 158 kWh per year. In fact, the automatic standby will have to be triggered “either after a certain period of inactivity, or when the box no longer detects any device connected to wifi”.

TV and decoder must turn off at the same time

Another measure, while it is still often necessary to turn off both your television and the TV decoder of your box with two different remote controls, the government wants these decoders to automatically go into standby when “the TV itself is put on standby or turned off”.

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All of this “should pose no technical difficulty to operators” and “keeps common sense”, according to Jean-Noël Barrot. With these measures, the State hopes to save the French people a few euros a year and reduce digital energy consumption as much as possible.

We don’t yet know when carriers will roll out these government-mandated updates or what specific criteria they will meet. Nevertheless, voices are already being raised to denounce a potentially penalizing process for users if, for example, the standby rules are not sufficiently configurable by the user. In fact, not all French people use their Internet line in the same way, and some host, for example, services which they believe they can benefit from 24 hours a day, as their subscription explicitly provides. Especially at a time when home automation solutions are becoming more democratic, and installations as essential as intercoms or locks are now connected.

Others criticize the government’s stubbornness in wanting to make digital services one of the scapegoats of energy sobriety without it deploying the same determination to impose restrictive measures on other much more polluting and energy-intensive areas ( and there are many examples).

It remains to be seen how this request will be taken up by operators, knowing that some of them have already considered measures aimed at encouraging energy savings. The incumbent operator Orange has, for example, specified that its latest Livebox 6 has a configurable deep watch and undertakes to alert employees and customers of peaks in consumption on the electricity network, inviting them in this context to limit their use. digital.

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Sobriety plan and Internet box: the government wants to automatically put them on standby

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