Electric co-op tests TV white spaces for smart grid

Spectrum Bridge announced a partnership with Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative & Telecommunications (PSREC) and Google to launch the nation's first smart-grid wireless network trial using unlicensed TV white space spectrum--the unused TV broadcast channels made available by the transition from analog to digital TV.

The electric co-op, whose service area includes the Sierra Nevada Mountains, chose white space spectrum to find more efficient ways to manage its supply-and-demand of electricity, improve SCADA (system control and data acquisition) with substations and provide broadband Internet access to underserved areas.

"Plumas, Lassen and Sierra Counties are located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and present some very technical challenges with respect to wireless coverage," said Lori Rice, COO of PSREC. "The ability to use white space has proven to be an effective option for dealing with difficult terrain and offers another option for wireless connectivity."

PSREC currently employs a wide variety of wireless solutions across multiple frequency bands, but still faces challenges in some areas due to difficult terrain. Spectrum Bridge has already demonstrated white space's ability to provide non-line-of-sight connectivity.

In addition, PSREC has also deployed Google's PowerMeter technology, an energy monitoring tool that helps consumers save energy and money using information provided by a smart meter. Spectrum Bridge, which has built experimental white space networks to demonstrate broadband connectivity as well as the smart city concept, said this system will operate using its white spaces database to dynamically assign non-interfering frequencies to white space devices.

The FCC, which has declared white spaces as an essential piece to achieving broadband connectivity in rural areas, is expected to make some moves on white space rules this year, including the establishment of white space databases from a number of providers.

For more:
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