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2007 Global BPL - Utilities Moving Towards Broadbanded Smart Grids

This annual report offers a wealth of information on the worldwide development of Broadband Power Line. Information on a regional level is also provided for the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific. The report includes analyses, statistics and trends. It provides information and statistics on BPL development, including information on deployments. In particular the report examines BPL in terms of Smart Grids. Detailed technical information on BPL technology is also provided.

  • Subjects covered include:
  • BPL trends and developments;
  • Smart Grids and Energy Management;
  • Multi-utility market;
  • BPL deployment;
  • Home Plug and Demand Side Management (DSM);
  • Regional Overview;
  • Technical information including architecture, standards, access systems and interference.

The telecoms developments in the utilities market have come full circle. In the 1980s the utilities started talking about DSM and looked towards telecoms facilities as a way to provide more utility applications. Twenty years later we have come full circle with telecoms (now broadband) again a focus of the utility sector. For more information, see chapter 1, page 1. Smart grid applications

For utilities companies:

Outage identification and reporting;
Automated electric and water meter reading (AMR);
Demand response management;
Video surveillance through BPL-enabled video cameras placed on the power grid;
Street light management;
Solar power system that integrates energy storage technologies, load measurement and control devices and renewable energy sources;
Line sag detection, to remotely sense when distribution lines drop to potentially hazardous heights.

For consumers:

Home energy management;
Internet access and standard ISP service;
Voice over IP telephone service;
Security and intelligent home service through an always on, monitored wireless system.

(Source: BuddeComm 2007)

Looking to the future, utilities cannot fail to see the potential business opportunities in the telecommunications market as their Customer Access Network (CAN) infrastructure has a similar coverage to that of the incumbent telco. Utilities are uniquely positioned to roll out state-of-the-art broadband networks by leveraging off their existing infrastructure. Utilities are also unhampered by the legacy of a large copper-based network. For more information, see chapter 2, page 21. Around the world in 2007 around 100 commercial BPL trials are taking place (similar to 2006), with around a third of these under way in the US. In the US, despite imposing competition from cable and fibre deployments, there remains positive interest in BPL, most recently with DIRECTV alluding to possible trials. For more information, see chapter 4.2.1, page 36. In Canada, BPL deployments are relatively rare with most commercial BPL deployments being in the form of low-voltage BPL solutions within hotels. For more information, see chapter 4.2.2, page 37. Power line reached some 450,000 European households in mid-2007, yet the number of people taking broadband through technology remained small, at around 30,000. For more information, see chapter 4.4.1, page 40. In most African countries, the power grids connect far more households than the fixed-line telephone networks, potentially creating a huge market for Power Line Communication (PLC) based services. For more information, see chapter 4.5.1, page 42.

1.1 Trends and developments
1.1.1 Introduction
1.1.2 Overview
1.1.3 BPL SWOT analysis
1.1.4 Selecting the right business model
1.1.5 Utilities as telcos
1.1.6 Third broadband network into the home
1.1.7 The market in 2007 - full circle for utilities telecoms
1.1.8 Other developments
1.1.9 Forecasting BPL
1.1.10 Difficulty in developing a global standard
1.1.11 Vendor examples
1.2 Smart grids and energy management
1.2.1 Introduction
1.2.2 What is a smart grid?
1.2.3 Current grid outmoded and outdated
1.2.4 Old technologies, and no young engineers
1.2.5 The reality of global warming
1.2.6 Demand in energy bigger than ever before
1.2.7 Trillions to be spent on electricity grids
1.2.8 Global warming and energy saving
1.2.9 Carbon trading will facilitate smart grids
1.2.10 Background on GridWise
2.1 The need to expand beyond electricity
2.2 Electricity broadband - a comparison
2.3 Various business models
2.4 Multi-services companies
2.5 Utilities important factor in facilities-based telecoms competition
2.6 UtiliTel national infrastructure cooperation
2.7 Start with existing network
2.8 Broadbanding of local communities
2.9 Utilities slowly but surely moving forward
2.10 Conclusions
3.1 Introduction
3.2 HomePlug
3.2.1 Introduction
3.2.2 Every socket a telco outlet
3.2.3 Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM)
3.2.4 56 bit DES
3.2.5 Interoperability
3.2.6 Reach - with and beyond each home
3.2.7 HomePlug Powerline Alliance
3.3 Demand Side Management/Energy Management services
3.3.1 Introduction
3.3.2 Definition and overview of services
3.3.3 Changes in society
3.3.4 BPL for home automation services
3.3.5 DSM applications for residential users
3.4 Smart meters should be based on broadband - analysis
3.4.1 Introduction
3.4.2 Decision-making time
3.4.3 Smart meters or smart networks?
3.4.4 Demand-side management
3.4.5 PLC and BPL
3.4.6 Smart solutions = smart national benefits
3.5 Other uses of utilities for broadband transmission
3.5.1 SewerLine
3.5.2 Broadband-in-gas
4.1 Introduction
4.1.1 Utilities - the new force in telecoms
4.1.2 Brief overview of selected global developments - 2007
4.2 North America
4.2.1 USA
4.2.2 Canada
4.3 Latin America
4.3.1 Overview
4.3.2 Chile
4.3.3 Mexico
4.3.4 Brazil
4.3.5 Argentina
4.3.6 Ecuador
4.3.7 Costa Rica
4.4 Europe
4.4.1 Western Europe
4.4.2 Eastern Europe
4.5 Africa / Middle East
4.5.1 Africa
4.5.2 Middle East
4.6 Asia
4.6.1 Asia market overview
4.6.2 Japan
4.6.3 South Korea
4.6.4 China
4.6.5 Hong Kong
4.6.6 Singapore
4.6.7 Taiwan
4.6.8 Malaysia
4.7 Pacific region
4.7.1 Australia
5.1 Architecture and techniques
5.1.1 Introduction
5.1.2 Power infrastructure architectures
5.1.3 BPL techniques and architectures
5.1.4 Propagation, attenuation, isolation and crosstalk
5.1.5 Frequencies and modulation techniques
5.2 Standards and HomePlug PLC
5.2.1 Introduction
5.2.2 Technical standards
5.2.3 HomePlug
5.3 OPERA, DS2 BPL and co-existence
5.3.1 DS2
5.3.2 The EU OPERA project
5.3.3 Practical data rates
5.3.4 Market requirements for access BPL and in-home PLC
5.4 BPL access systems
5.4.1 Commercial BPL systems
5.4.2 Trials and commercial deployment
5.5 Interference and challenges
5.5.1 Introduction
5.5.2 Interference
5.5.3 A Critical view: considering alternatives
5.5.4 Barriers and challenges
5.5.5 Electricity Supply Board of Ireland critique

List of Exhibits

Exhibit 1 - Major BPL players - 2006
Exhibit 2 - Smart grid applications
Exhibit 3 - Case study TXU
Exhibit 4 - Listed energy information/energy management services
Exhibit 5 - Business models
Exhibit 6 - Telco technologies for utilities
Exhibit 7 - Selection of utilities pursuing telecommunications - 2007
Exhibit 8 - Three classes of utilities/carriers
Exhibit 9 - Energy information/energy management services being considered
Exhibit 10 - Smart air-conditioning control
Exhibit 11 - Past and current utilities pursuing telecommunications
Exhibit 12 - OPERA Phase 2 Field Trials

List of tables

Table 1 - BPL subscribers - EMEA, Americas and Asia-Pacific - 2005*

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