06.23.2010 02:00 PM
Google Supports White Space Smart Grid Trial
WhiteFi PORTOLA, CALIF.: Google is backing the test of a wireless smart-grid power system that uses TV white spaces. The Internet search giant partnered with Spectrum Bridge of Lake Mary, Fla., and the utility cooperative of Plumas-Sierra County, Calif., where the trial is being carried out. Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative & Telecommunications elected to use white spaces to monitor the power grid in the county, and to provide broadband access in underserved areas.

“Plumas, Lassen and Sierra Counties are located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and present some very technical challenges with respect to wireless coverage,” said Lori Rice, chief operating officer of the utility. “The ability to use white space has proven to be an effective option for dealing with difficult terrain and offers another option for wireless connectivity.”

The Plumas-Sierra wireless smart grid is being used to deliver broadband connectivity to remote substations and switchgear so utility operators can manage those systems remotely. The grid incorporates Google’s PowerMeter technology for monitoring energy use. PowerMeter provides real-time use data via the Internet for electricity customers.

Says Google’s director of green business operations, Rick Needham: “This project demonstrates the incredible potential of this spectrum to revolutionize not only wireless communications, but also rural energy.”

Spectrum Bridge is participating by tracking available spectrum for the project. The company specializes in sniffing out white spaces--spectrum previously left between TV channels to prevent interference. The FCC freed up white spaces for unlicensed use after last year’s DTV transition. It was assumed digital transmissions would be less susceptible to interference than analog TV signals.

Spectrum Bridge manages a dynamic data base of available white spaces. Both Spectrum Bridge and Google are among companies vying to become the FCC’s official TV spectrum data base manager. FCC rules require unlicensed devices to be in contact with its database. A manager has has yet been selected.

The Plumas-Sierra trial is the third municipal white-space network involving participation by Spectrum Bridge. It was most notably involved in the first high-profile effort undertaken by Claudeville, Va. The rural Blue Ridge community launched a white-space broadband network last October. Another in Wilmington, N.C., was launched this last February using Spectrum Bridge’s database.

-- Deborah D. McAdams


January 4, 2010: White Space Database Manager Proposals Due
The unlicensed devices that will soon operate in unoccupied TV channels will be required to check the database for where TV stations, BAS operations and other broadcast entities are using spectrum. 

October 22, 2009
: “Virginia Town Exemplifies White Space Usage
The community of Claudville, Va., is quintessentially “unserved,” an archetype for using TV spectrum for wireless broadband.

Post New Comment
If you are already a member, or would like to receive email alerts as new comments are
made, please login or register.

Enter the code shown above:

(Note: If you cannot read the numbers in the above
image, reload the page to generate a new one.)

Posted by: Deborah McAdams
Fri, 06-25-2010 08:26 AM Report Comment
This "so-called smart grid" money and technology should be spent trying to figure our how to make our existing electrical products much more power efficient for normal operation - not how to turn them off at will by others by remote control. NOBODY,and I mean NOBODY wants a truly smart grid - it is nothing more than a huge invasion of privacy. Do you want someone remotely turning-off your refrigerator, or TV, or A/C because "the power demand is too high"? This is BS people - wake-up and "smell the coffee" (that is if your coffee maker isn't shut-off remotely). Somebody else will decide what you can or can't have turned-on in your own homes! In summary, this is a waste of time and money, an invasion of our privacy, removing the freedom to choose, and money that could be spent in making products more energy efficient. Amen.

Thursday 11:07 AM
The Best Deconstruction of a 4K Shoot You'll Ever Read
With higher resolutions and larger HD screens, wide shots using very wide lenses can be a problem because they allow viewers to see that infinity doesn’t quite resolve into perfect sharpness.

Featured Articles
Discover TV Technology