Tag: ofgem

Can Arqiva provide the Smart Grid communications infrastructure for Britain?

Communications Mast
Photo credit Lee Jordan

We had a really interesting Smart Grid related conversation with a company called Arqiva the other day.

I hadn’t heard of Arqiva before but they are quite a significant player in communications infrastructure. They own or have exclusive marketing rights for 16,000 communication masts in UK – what they call vertical real-estate! They also own, operate and maintain all of the UK’s terrestrial television network as a regulated monopoly. And they are responsible for rolling out the switch-over from analog to digital broadcasting for the country.

If that weren’t enough Arqiva are Europe’s largest provider of satellite linkage services!

All very well I hear you say, but what does this have to do with Smart Grids?

Well, Arqiva have a fascinating proposition. They are expecting Ofgem (the regulator for the electricity and gas markets in Great Britain) to announce some kind of central procurement for a Great Britain-wide network and if that occurs, Arqiva would be in a very strong position to bid for it.

They have dedicated longwave spectrum (412 MHz) and a nationwide mast footprint already capable of reaching 100% of the homes in the country. A significant advantage of the dedicated longwave spectrum (apart from the lack of contention) is that longwave will have no problem reaching into houses where meters can be located under stairs or in basements, for example. Cellular networks don’t have the same luxury and are more plagued with health concerns around the transmissions from their masts…