Monday, April 30, 2012
FTTH, smart grid unite in Alabama town
Opelika, Alabama, is providing its residents with a permanent glimpse into the future, as officials have announced a plan that will combine a fiber-to-the-home network with a smart grid deployment to give households and businesses access to high-performance broadband services and the ability to monitor and manage their power use more effectively.
The GTTH is designed for two primary purposes - delivering IPTV and broadband services to consumers and serving as the backbone of a smart grid setup that will be deployed by Opelika Power Services. Mayor Gary Fuller of the City of Opelika, said the broad impact of the FTTH and smart grid setup will help meet consumer and business demands in the city.
"We are pleased to … offer all the residents of the City of Opelika, as well as business and industry, a consistent quality of broadband service, which is what they have been asking for," said Fuller. "Additionally, the deployment of smart grid technology will empower people to make their own decisions about energy usage to help make their homes greener, and put more money back in their wallets in the process."
The smart grid infrastructure is expected to have a major impact on power delivery efficiency, as the technology will provide real-time usage data from the energy grid. As a result, the utility provider can better monitor consumption trends over time and use that data to conserve energy when possible and ensure that the electricity generation sources do not end up creating more power than the community needs. The smart grid will also include remote sensors and automation capabilities that will help identify problems throughout the setup, allowing for streamlined maintenance and improved operational efficiency.
FTTH and smart grid are two technologies that are closely aligned for the future. While this particular project is fairly small in scale, it is indicative of future trends. Smart grid is rising quickly on its own, as is FTTH. However, service providers are having a difficult time gaining revenue from some FTTH deployments because of economic concerns. At the same time, the number of monitoring devices, smart meters and other connected appliances in a smart grid network require data throughput capabilities that are challenging to meet. The union of FTTH and smart grid could solve the problems that each technology is facing, while also delivering considerable benefits to consumers and businesses.
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