Washington, DC, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- September 9, 2009 - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has launched a consultation seeking comment on how advanced communication infrastructure and services could help achieve efficient implementation of smart grid technology.

In the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the FCC was directed, in its development of a National Broadband Plan, to include a plan for the use of broadband infrastructure and services in advancing energy independence and efficiency, and the smart grid has been identified as a promising technology in this area as well as offering other potential benefits.

Smart grid applications are being deployed using a variety of public and private communications networks and a variety of communications technologies, says the FCC, calling for tailored comment on a number of issues. Among these are the suitability of communications networks and technologies for various smart grid applications, the availability of existing communications networks and how this availability may impact smart grid deployments, and how wireless spectrum is or could be used for smart grid applications.

Other issues are the availability and potential of real time energy consumption and pricing data in energy management, and the ways in which utilities, technology providers and consumers will connect appliances, thermostats, and energy displays to each other, to the electric meter, and to the internet in the home area network.

Some of the questions posed by the FCC are the reliability of commercial wireless networks for carrying smart grid data and their suitability for critical electricity equipment control communications, and the impact of the presence of communications networks on smart grid deployment costs. Other questions include the requirement of additional spectrum for smart grid applications, and if spectrum were to be allocated, how this would impact current and planned smart grid deployments.

Comments must be submitted on the issues and questions posed by the FCC by October 2.