London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — August 17, 2007 – According to Wikipedia, a femtocell – originally called an Access Point Base Station – is a scalable, multi-channel, two-way communication device extending a typical base station by incorporating all of the major components of the telecommunications infrastructure. Could the technology be suitable for smart metering?
One of the requirements of the smart meter trials that are taking place in the U.K. is to find the most efficient and effective communication medium between the meter and the utility. Technologies being investigated include wireless devices and powerline carrier – but the very fact that there are so many mobile (cell) phones in use could make femtocell technology attractive.
At present femtocells are prohibitively expensive at £300 ($600) each, but an increase in demand, together with the resulting economies of scale, could bring the price down and make the technology financially viable. Certainly some of the utilities taking part in the trials – that include EDF Energy, E.ON, Scottish and Southern Energy and Scottish Power – are reported to be considering femtocells as one of the possible ways to communicate with the meters installed in their customers’ premises.