Individual data transfer consumes a lot of energy, which is why it is an eco action to watch a sporting event on terrestrial TV instead of a mobile device.

The electricity consumption of data transfer has recently been the subject of public debate (HS 25 May, Yle 20 June). The issue is important for the whole planet, as the growing quantity of both data and terminal devices consumes a lot of electricity.

Indeed, audiovisual content should be distributed to large populations primarily through a terrestrial distribution network, or broadcasting. It is by far the most cost-effective and green way to distribute content today and in the future, according to the Europe-wide LoCat energy consumption study published last year that focused on broadcasting and streaming.

“The more mobile devices are connected to a mobile network, the more electricity the network consumes. The situation is different in a broadcast network – its electricity consumption stays practically the same no matter how many receivers there are. This lower energy consumption is due to the efficiency of broadcast networks and the simplicity of home receivers”, says Teppo Ahonen, who is responsible for Digita’s TV and video business.

In general, the energy consumption and carbon emissions of devices used to watch television content will be reduced if digital terrestrial broadcasting is the most common option used for distribution. During major events, the same content can be efficiently distributed to all viewers in the network coverage area at the same time, without overloading the distribution network.

A big benefit for the user is also that broadcasting does not have a delay. Someone watching a football match via broadband may often have to hear the goals “in advance” based on the reactions of a neighbour who uses broadcasting.

Hybrid data transfer solutions are evolving all the time. In the future, consumers of video content may not know whether the content will appear on the screen via a broadcast network or a broadband network.

“Smart terminal devices will actively make choices with the network regarding the data transfer format based on the number of viewers and the usage situation. At the same time, personal services can be introduced to accompany linear television as well”, Ahonen says.

In terms of the energy efficiency of data transfer, it is best to distribute content that is likely to attract a large audience through broadcast networks. Personal content, on the other hand, should be shared and consumed over mobile networks because they are designed for personal data transfer. In this way, the big picture is optimised from an environmental point of view as well.

“It is an eco action to watch a sporting event on terrestrial TV instead of a mobile device”, Ahonen concludes.

A complete report summarizing the study results as well as the key assumptions and elements of methodology can be obtained on

For more information, please contact:

Teppo Ahonen, VP, TV

+358 40 563 0299

Digita is a provider of digital infrastructure and services and the country’s largest independent owner of telecommunication masts. The company owns and operates Finland’s leading national terrestrial television and radio network, acts as a pay-TV operator for the antenna network, and develops future broadcasting services. Digita is actively developing hybrid television distribution solutions that combine TV distribution networks and different distribution formats. In addition, Digita’s telecommunications services include private networks, indoor coverage solutions, telecommunications mast and rooftop management services, as well as Internet of Things (IoT) and data center services. Digita employs more than 200 experts nationwide and we want to be the best workplace in our industry for everyone.