UK gives go-ahead for £4.5B smart metering wide-area network

The UK government has taken the surprise move of announcing contracts valued at £4.59 billion to build a new wide-area network across the UK to support smart metering.

The government is responding to Europe Union rules that call for smart meters to be in use across the UK by 2020, which will result in nearly 50 million devices being installed.

The wireless network to support these devices will be funded by the UK government, with the likelihood that it will be based upon GSM/GPRS due to the low-cost of the wireless components and the level of in-depth understanding of the mature technology standard.

"It'll be interesting to see how cellular takes root, seeing that the UK is the first proponent of it, while other European countries have adopted the prime PLC standard," said David Leeds, senior manager of smart grid for GTM Research, told Green Tech Media.

However, the contract documents warns possible bidders that the network will need to provide 100 per cent coverage of the UK population, and supply the communications back to the central data and communications company (DCC) that will oversee access to the data.

The DCC company, which will have responsibility for all software and data-processing services, will be a centralised function, unlike elsewhere in Europe, and will ensure the security of customer data.

For more:
- see this GTM Research article

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