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According to a new study conducted by Navigant Research, utilities will spend nearly $100 billion on networking and communications equipment and services over the next decade.

Other key study findings and projections include:

  1. Utility investments in smart grid communications reached $7.9 billion in 2018, with $6.8 billion directed towards networking equipment
  2. Leasing lines, towers, LPWA solutions, satellite, and cellular services will account for more than $1 billion
  3. Utilities are diversifyng measures to solve connectivity problems
  4. The increase in market investments is driven by efforts to address competitive threats, operational challenges, and demands from customers and energy regulators.
  5. Rapid technological advancements are making rollout cheaper and easier.

Richelle Elberg, a principal research analysts with Navigant, said: “Sophisticated IT and analytics programmes can leverage the data made available by connected devices to improve grid reliability, safety, resilience, and operational efficiency—all of which augment the utility’s return on the networking investment.

“Thus, investment in networking for a multitude of utility applications is accelerating even as the ways that utilities solve connectivity problems are diversifying.”

The report, Networking and Communications for Smart Grids and Utility Applications,  covers three smart grid applications: advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), distribution automation, and substation automation at the transmission and distribution levels.

Technologies covered include cellular, RF mesh, point-to-multipoint, microwave point-to-point, private 4G, Wi-Fi-based systems, satellite services, leased lines, TDM/ethernet/broadband, power line carrier (PLC), fiber, and low power wide area (LPWA).