BT backs long wave radio for smart meters

UK incumbent BT has joined forces with broadcast infrastructure firm Arqiva and business consultancy Detica in a bid to mop up business under the local government’s proposed smart metering initiative.

Due to cover 28 million homes and small businesses by 2020, the UK Government will soon publish a prospectus providing more details about the project and the possible commercial opportunities. Once this document is released, BT, Arqiva and Detica aim to have a proposal ready by September for a universal, dedicated, secure and resilient nationwide communications network for smart meters and smart grid applications.

BT is known to be backing long range radio as the technology solution, after spending 18 months analysing the various options available for smart metering. “Unlike mobile, it can provide truly nationwide coverage and dependable reception indoors. The fact it operates on dedicated licensed spectrum is also important as it is ideal in ensuring the security of supply and protection of consumer data while meeting the needs of the Energy Industry,” BT said.

Arqiva would provide the radio spectrum and infrastructure, with BT managing the project and Detica providing the information and intelligence services. Sensus will provide the smart meter and smart grid kit as well as the long range radio technology, FlexNet.

Smart meters will enable commercial and residential customers to monitor the gas and electricity being delivered to their properties. The Government believes that smart meters will play an important role in improving energy efficiency, reducing consumption and helping to meet national and international environmental targets. Smart meters will also help utility companies improve the efficiency and control of their networks, as well as provide the ability to offer tailored pricing packages based on customer usage patterns.

“A communications network designed to meet the unique needs of all of Britain’s utilities – electricity, gas and water – must be able to deliver universal connectivity and long term resilience.  And the only way to achieve this is through a dedicated network based on long range radio,” added John Cronin, managing director for Arqiva.

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