The Energy Networks Association (ENA) lodged a submission to the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA) review of the 900 MHz radio frequency spectrum band in June.
In particular, ENA focused its comments on the ACMA’s potential option for utilities to operate mesh-radio networks in a different band than is currently the case.
ENA said it is pleased the ACMA is considering the needs of smart infrastructure in the re-planning of the 900 MHz band and supports a transition to a longer-term harmonised band for mesh radio technologies. However, the ENA argues there needs to be an appropriate regulator mechanism to protect current and planned mesh-radio investments.
Several electricity distribution businesses have made/planned significant investments in mesh-radio devices and systems to communicate with advanced metering infrastructure and other electricity network devices and systems. These investments are contingent on the use of the 915-928 MHz low-interference potential devices (LIPD) class licence. Any regulatory change to this band has the potential to adversely impact these devices and systems, and overcoming these would result in additional costs to electricity customers, the ENA states.
The ENA has argued for the continued use of the existing 915-928 MHz LIPD Class licence for the life of existing and planned mesh radio investments.