The EU-sponsored powerline project OPERA – Open PLC European Research Alliance – which is part of the larger broadband project ‘Broadband For All’, is underway. OPERA is being sponsored within the framework of the eEurope 2005 initiative, and an international consortium of utilities, technology companies, manufacturers, research institutions and consultants will develop a uniform European powerline system standard.

One of OPERA’s key objectives is the definition and development of ‘ready-to-sell services’ to be provided through the PLC networks. Several different services will be considered in addition to Internet access and VoIP services, such as AMR, video-on-demand, e-health and tele-surveillance. The broadband IP-based structures of powerline technology open a variety of additional values for utilities as far as the AMR services in particular are concerned, and this part of the project will look at service co-ordination between utilities and telecom operators. Several combinations of different methods for distributing meter information on site will be evaluated towards the latter half of the year, and results will be reported.