DoE focuses on smart grid with two reports

The federal government would like to guide how much impact utilities can have on the broadband telecommunications space as they upgrade and improve a national smart grid of electrical power grids. The smart grid power grid architecture must be upgraded to better handle energy needs; at the same time, if offers the potential to provide a third broadband communications wire into the business or residence, directly threatening cable and telco service providers.

The FCC, in its National Broadband Plan (NBP) called on the Department of Energy (DoE) to see how an improved smart grid might impact utilities communications needs and what side effects this might have for the consumer. That federal body has now issued a pair of reports that detail how utilities can move into the space of using innovative energy management technologies across an enhanced smart grid and how, perhaps more ominously for incumbent telecom providers, "how the communications needs of utilities and the electrical grid are likely to evolve as smart grid technologies become more widely used," according to a reporting in Intelligent Energy Portal.

Certainly the technologies are being developed for deployment across a smart telecommunications network. Taiwanese vendor HomeScenario, for instance, showed off a prototype of a "supersmart" electricity meter that is equipped with sensors to detect power consumption and inform homeowners "via their cell phones or personal computers through broadband." The technology was unveiled at Broadband Taiwan 2010.

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