Spectrum Bridge, in partnership with Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative & Telecommunications (PSREC) and Google, announced today the nation’s first “Smart Grid” wireless network trial utilizing TV White Spaces spectrum.
This is the third trial Spectrum Bridge has done using white spaces. The first was in Claudville, Va., bringing broadband access to the rural town, and the second was in Wilmington, N.C., where the city was building a smart city network for a number of connected apps.
The Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative serves three counties in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
With its ability to penetrate foliage and non-line of sight connectivity, TV White Spaces are said to enable “Smart Grid” technologies to manage “Smart Grid” applications such as supply-and-demand of electricity, System Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) of substations and provide broadband Internet access to underserved areas.
TV White Spaces are unused TV broadcast channels made available by the recent transition from Analog to Digital TV. In the analog era, local broadcasters had to leave blank spaces between their channels to prevent interference. It the digital era, those wasted spaces can now be used. As a result, additional spectrum is now available.
As part of the National Broadband Plan, the FCC has declared that TV White Spaces are well suited for wireless data networks and can be used to deliver cost effective broadband connectivity for a wide variety of consumer, business and government applications.
To guarantee that the TV White Spaces network does not cause interference with licensed television broadcasts and other protected TV band users, the system operates under the control of Spectrum Bridge’s intelligent TV White Spaces database. This database dynamically assigns non-interfering frequencies to white spaces devices, and adapts in real-time to new TV broadcasts, as well as other protected TV band users operating in the area.
“We are pleased to be working with Spectrum Bridge and Plumas County to give consumers access to their energy information, and are excited to see this innovative use of TV white spaces,” said Rick Needham, Director of Green Business Operations at Google. “This project demonstrates the incredible potential of this spectrum to revolutionize not only wireless communications but also rural energy.”
Speaking last week at the TV White Spaces Summit in Washington, D.C., FCC commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker said the FCC’s inaction on the TV white spaces initiative has left innovators and manufacturers without sufficient guidance — but that policy will soon change.
In a letter to the FCC last week, Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) urged the FCC to “prioritize action on white spaces”.
“Today, the TV white spaces remain a viable option for unlicensed use below 1GHz and jump-starting a period of innovation that could equal or surpass what we have seen with WiFi,” said the Senators.
FCC commissioner Baker highlighted the “Smart City” in Wilmington, NC — which includes meter reading and remote monitoring using white spaces.
Environmental monitoring, disaster recovery and public safety are other useful applications, Baker said. She noted the placing of tiny wireless sensors in neighboring wetlands.
Baker called for action in three areas:
“First, we need to finalize the plans for the TV bands and provide the direction that industry needs to plan for the future. Second, we must encourage the further development of spectrum-sensing technology and establish the testing procedures for the ‘proof of performance’ standard for such devices.” And, third, she said is the database.
White space availability can be determined by using the free search tool at Spectrum Bridge’s website, or by downloading the free Spectrum Bridge TV White Space application from Smart Phone Application Stores.
Pike Research forecasts smart grid cyber security spending will increase from $1.2 billion in 2009 to $3.7 billion by 2015. Over the next five years, they anticipate that approximately $21 billion will be invested in global smart grid cyber security deployments.
According to a recent report from Pike Research, home area networking connectivity in smart meters will be included in 49% of all smart meters shipped worldwide by 2013, and the North American HAN-enabled meter penetration rate will be even higher at 81% by the same year.
Pike Research divides the smart meter market into two primary categories: Basic meters, which transmit energy usage data over two-way communications networks, and Advanced meters, which include basic functionality in addition to remote disconnect and Home Area Network capabilities. GreenTechMedia has the latest news.
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