Since 2011, the SICAE (a power distributor of French rural communities) for the Somme and Cambraisis region (Northern France) has, together with Alstom, installed communication points in around 50 grid nodes piloting new telecommunication solutions carried through medium voltage power lines. Alstom Grid’s technology allows the integration of a wide range of services through the same backbone such as telephony, video surveillance, remote meter reading, real-time data exchange with grid controls and active demand response management.

Alstom and the SICAE de la Somme et du Cambraisis will extend their collaboration to include several new sites as of 2013.

Developed by Alstom, the technology utilizes broadband medium voltage power line carrier over 20 kV networks integrating digital information together: telephony, video images, and grid data. The technology opens new broadband communication capability within each of the equipped grid nodes, reaching free bandwidth of dozens of Mbps over complex grid topologies. It facilitates the deployment of smart grid solutions to better support distribution network reliability while allowing the integration of intermittent renewables and management of active demand.

Similar pilot operations have already been deployed or are in the process of being deployed in Brazil and India.