Utilities company EnergyAustralia announced today that it will install a 4G WiMax wireless telecommunications network as part of a smart grid roll-out.
EnergyAustralia powers up with 4G. (Credit: EnergyAustralia)
The company had opted for carrier-grade 4G WiMax technology following a successful trial at six sites in the greater Newcastle area and two sites in Sydney. "The 4G network will allow communication with up to 2 million smart devices on the electricity grid," said EnergyAustralia's managing director George Maltabarow.
The 4G roll-out is expected to cost $50 million, as part of its $200 million smart grid project.
Currently, there are 4G sites at Gan Gan Hill at Nelson Bay as well as Lidcombe and Homebush in Sydney, among others.
According to Maltabarow, the network will be "phased in" to 140 locations over the next 18 months.
EnergyAustralia previously entered a $10 million agreement with Seven Group Holdings Limited company Wireless Broadband Australia to secure a slice of spectrum to operate the 4G network.
Smart meters provide live information about networks to boost efficiency, reduce interruptions and provide finer control over energy use.
EnergyAustralia's intelligent networks manager Adrian Clarke told ZDNet Australia that the network had received "very strong" support from company executives.
According to Clarke, the backbone of the smart meters system has been developed in collaboration with IT services giant IBM and uses existing platforms from software company TIBCO.
"Because it's open standards, we're able to work with a range of different vendors," said Clarke.
Victoria's smart meter scheme has encountered problems. After a smart meter backlash, a new pricing regime, which the energy companies were going to introduce along with smart meters, was put on hold. The roll-out will continue, however.
The Victorian system is under review following a damning report released by the Victorian auditor-general last year.