Lori Rice, Chief Operating Officer at PSREC, reports, “Plumas, Lassen and Sierra Counties are located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and present some very technical challenges with respect to wireless coverage. 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.”
White spaces are unused TV broadcast channels made available by the recent transition from Analog to Digital TV. The FCC declared that white spaces are well suited for wireless data networks and can be used to deliver cost effective broadband connectivity for consumer, business and government applications.
The applications deployed for the Plumas?Sierra trial deliver real?time broadband connectivity to remote substations, allowing PSREC system operators to manage the electrical system remotely, request critical data from substations, manage power flow, and protect the system while maintaining the local grid. The wireless network is also providing broadband access to an under served community. In addition, PSREC has also deployed Google’s PowerMeter so consumers can view real-time detailed energy consumption data from anywhere, online.
Rick Needham, Google’s Director of Green Business Operations says, “We are pleased to be working with Spectrum Bridge and Plumas County to give consumers access to their energy information, and are excited to see this innovative use of TV white spaces. This project demonstrates the incredible potential of this spectrum to revolutionize not only wireless communications but also rural energy.”
Jeff Schmidt, Director of Engineering at Spectrum Bridge adds, “The Plumas-Sierra White Spaces trial is further proof that TV White Spaces is a great tool to extend broadband connectivity to under-served areas and make possible applications like Smart Grid, in ways that couldn’t be done cost effectively before.”