The State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) has been testing communications technologies for the implementation of a smart grid and is conducting a pilot for 80,000 premises based on FTTx EPON (Ethernet passive optical networking). The deployment of a countrywide smart grid based on PON fiber communications would provide a $1.5-2.0 billion opportunity to FTTx component and equipment vendors.
The SGCC intends to spend $100bn on smart grid technologies. The SGCC is trialing the use of EPON for AMI at 80,000 premises in China. While fiber bandwidth seems like overkill for automated meter reading, the ultimate goal of the SGCC may be to become a communications service provider.
The deployment of a PON-based smart grid would benefit OLT equipment vendors such as Huawei and ZTE, followed by Alcatel-Lucent and FiberHome, along with the ONT box manufacturers and component vendors supplying fiber splitters, transceivers, BOSAs, and PON MAC chip vendors. The list of box and component vendors is long, including Dare, T&W, Cambridge Industries Group, HiSense, Genuine, Cyoptics, Neophotonics, Broadcom, Vitesse, and Semtech, to name a few.
The majority of smart meters deployed to date in China has been based on PLC (powerline communications). The SGCC will continue to evaluate other types of communications technologies. It is possible that increased focus will be placed on wireless, such as LTE. While LTE terminals are expensive today, costs will decline and could decline rapidly if the SGCC was to order large volumes.
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