EnergyAustralia today announced that it had signed a $12 million agreement with Ericsson to roll out Long Term Evolution (LTE) as part of its smart grid deployment.
Ericsson will be providing equipment, software and services to operate the network according to the energy utility. EnergyAustralia will also be using WiMAX for the smart grid network, the equipment for which will be provided by Airspan Networks.
The 4G machine-to-machine communications network will span 150 sites across New South Wales including Sydney, the Central Coast and the Hunter region.
"The 4G network will transmit data between 12,000 smart monitoring devices [such as smart meters], up to 3000 mobile field computers and 200 major zone substations," said EnergyAustralia managing director George Maltabarow.
Maltabarow claims that the collected data can be turned into "useful information for field staff, engineers and households" and will assist in monitoring energy usage as well as detecting and fixing faults.
The Ericsson deal is the latest step in EnergyAustralia's smart grid roll-out. Earlier this month, the utility signed an agreement with Cisco for custom-built switches and routing gear.
The smart grid trial, worth $100 million, is part of the Federal Government's Smart Grid, Smart Cities project, due for completion in 2013.
In March, Energy Australia paid $10 million to Channel Seven subsidiary Wireless Broadband Australia for a portion of wireless spectrum to be used in the smart grid project.