Sensus, a leader in intelligent solutions for gas, water and electric utilities, and Arqiva, a U.K.-based communications infrastructure and services company, have formed a partnership that will enable Arqiva to implement a long-range radio-based communications platform for the U.K.'s utility companies. Using the Sensus FlexNet and SmartPoint technologies for smart metering, telemetry and control of the utility assets, Arqiva will deploy a communications platform as part of the U.K.'s rollout of smart meters to all homes and businesses.
“The blend of Sensus' smart metering experience in the North American market and Arqiva's experience with critical network infrastructure in the U.K. represents an exciting proposition for the U.K.'s smart metering initiative,” said Bill Yeates, executive vice president, Conservation Solutions at Sensus. “Sensus is already playing a key role in the largest modernization of utility networks in the U.S. and Canada, and we're excited by the prospect of helping the U.K. to achieve its energy modernization ambitions.”
The Sensus FlexNet smart grid communications system and SmartPoint technologies are being used by 200 electric, water and gas utility customers in North America that collectively have already deployed 4 million smart meters.
“With the government's commitment to put smart meters in all homes by 2020, we have the opportunity to make the U.K. one of the most advanced and efficient consumers of energy in the world,” said John Cronin, managing director, Arqiva Wireless Access. “For what will become a critical piece of national infrastructure, we must make sure that we set the bar high with the proposed central communications network. This means not only universal coverage but resilience, security and availability, something that long-range radio has proven it can deliver through the U.K.'s broadcast network.”
The solution being developed by Arqiva will operate in available UHF spectrum and builds on the company's experience in operating the U.K.'s terrestrial TV and radio broadcast network. The communications platform will offer multiple benefits, including:
- Dedicated, secure network
Arqiva will use its dedicated UHF spectrum, combined with Sensus' purpose designed security measures, to provide a bespoke communications network for independent use by the U.K.'s water, gas and electric utilities.
- Proven technology
The Sensus FlexNet smart grid communications technology has been proven at scale, with more than 4 million smart endpoints already deployed.
- Universal U.K. coverage with minimal infrastructure
A long-range radio network offers significant geographical coverage with minimum infrastructure; Arqiva already delivers terrestrial radio and TV services to 98.5% of the U.K. using a similar solution.
- Simple and cost-effective smart meter roll-out
Long-range radio signals carry extremely well through buildings, even underground, reaching meters situated in cupboards or cellars that would be out of range of other communications technologies, thus avoiding the cost of moving and reconnecting meters.
- High capacity and scalable
Long-range radio has the necessary capacity to meet the smart energy initiatives for meters and grid networks, as well as scalability for other utilities, such as gas and water.
The partnership allows Arqiva to focus on the development of the long-range radio-based solution for the single centralized national communications network as recommended by the Department of Energy and Climate Change in its smart metering consultation paper issued in 2009.