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BT Looks to Smarten Energy with Long-Range Radio


BT Looks to Smarten Energy with Long-Range Radio

BT has announced that it will be taking part in the bid for the government contract to roll-out smart energy meters across the UK.

The company has formed a partnership with Arqiva and Detica and said that in its proposed multi-million pound bid it plans to over 28 million homes and businesses by 2020 or sooner. It would provide smart metering services for electricity, water and gas.

In a move that may surprise some, the BT bid will base its technology on long-range radio rather than mobile phone networks.

BT said in a release that it has spent 18 months analysing the various communications options available and has settled on long-range radio as the most dependable for providing complete nationwide coverage and reception indoors. This makes sense considering most meters in homes will be hidden away underneath stairs.

Olivia Garfield, BT group strategy director, said: “Smart meters will use telecommunications to deliver important environmental benefits and so BT is determined to be at the heart of the project. It is vital that any solution is designed for ubiquitous coverage of homes and is thoroughly secure and resilient. We believe that long range radio is the only technology to offer nationwide coverage and we will release more detail in a series of events in September.”

Smart meters are common sense when you think about it, with a whole host of obvious benefits. Once up and running, the system would be much more efficient, saving the huge cost of employing individuals knocking on doors. Aside from privacy issues it will also be much more environmentally friendly. It should also make billing much more accurate, putting an end to estimated bills and having to rely on users submitting their own bills online.

BT won’t have it all its own way of course. The Guardian reports that the utility firms are deploying smart meters themselves and are working with mobile telcos – British Gas with Vodafone, and Scottish and Southern Energy and nPower with Orange.

All in all, it should be good news all round – except for the man who came to read this writer’s home meter last week. In a few years, he’ll be out of a job.

Via: The Guardian


July 21, 2010, 4:20 pm

Of course, if we had universal access to broadband, then there would perhaps be no need for them to use "long range radio". That they aim for this to be in place by "2020" suggests that they are not expecting universal broadband to be in place by this time. I know that I'm conflating two issues here - energy and communication - but it does irk me somewhat that BT are engaging with another 'national project', whilst users like myself are likely to continue to receive flaky broadband access for the foreseeable future.

Occam's Razor

July 21, 2010, 9:35 pm

I have an irrational hatred of meter readers. You get some right scallies knocking at the door. Good riddance.


July 21, 2010, 10:03 pm

"British Gas with Vodafone, and Scottish and Southern Energy and nPower with Orange."

Woo Hoo!!!!

Even more mobile data usage!!!

I'm just off to slit my wrists, wake me up when LTE rolls out.


July 21, 2010, 10:50 pm

why have BT stepped into this, shouldnt they leave it to the utility companies? is it cos they couldnt get a utily partner in the uk, cos everybody know how sh1te bt are?


July 22, 2010, 11:32 am

Great to see companies with such bad customer service reputations banding together... and when things go wrong we can have one bunch of idiots blaming another bunch of idiots.


July 22, 2010, 1:32 pm

is it me or are we going to automate most of the country onto the dole with technology..!


July 22, 2010, 1:58 pm

WTF BT Spending millions on this and cant even get 2Mb broadband out to the hole country let alone fiber to the home out.

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