Australian utility TasNetworks launches LoRaWAN grid network, Industry 4.0 platform
Australian electric utility Tasmanian Networks (TasNetworks) has appointed local LoRaWAN provider National Narrowband Network Co (NNNCo) to build a LoRaWAN network in the island state of Tasmania, off the southern Australian coast.
42-24, the IT and telecoms division of local government-owned TasNetworks, is will seek to re-sell IoT connectivity and services off the back of the “enterprise-grade” LoRaWAN network to local businesses, as well. NNNCo called the agreement an “unprecedented partnership” between a regulated utility, unregulated utility business, and a licensed telecommunications carrier.
The three-way deal will see TasNetworks and NNNCo build the network with LoRaWAN gateways deployed on the utility’s assets across Tasmania. TasNetworks will explore opportunities to use the network to connect IoT devices for its own use cases such as grid safety, street lighting, and digital metering. NNNNCo said 42-24 will sell connectivity to third parties, including to local councils, enterprises, agriculture businesses, and other utilities.
Lance Balcombe, chief executive at TasNetworks, said: “Any digital innovation that boosts safety, control and efficiency is good for us, and good for Tasmanians. This agreement opens the door to a host of innovations around grid safety, street lighting, and digital metering, to name a few. TasNetworks is determined to help Tasmanians recover strongly from the COVID-19 crisis and lockdown. Smart technology that helps us boost efficiency, and helps customers save time and money, can be a crucial part of that mission.”
42-24 spokesperson Kelly Walker said: “Having access to enterprise-grade connectivity across Tasmania will bring significant opportunities to our cities, farms and enterprises deploying their own IoT solutions. It could be a business tracking its assets, farmers monitoring irrigators or soil moisture, cities and towns improving energy efficiencies, or a water utility protecting its critical infrastructure. There’s a huge range of devices and applications available in the LoRaWAN IoT ecosystem that will enable the market to build a smarter and more sustainable Tasmania.”
Rob Zagarella, chief executive at NNNCo, said: “This is a significant Infrastructure partnership agreement that shows what’s possible when a utility is able to partner hand-in-glove with a flexible network operator. The investment in this infrastructure in Tasmania is an important development, not just for Australia but for IoT globally.”
NNNCo will start building the network in the second half of 2020, it said; the rollout will extend coverage of its existing narrowband IoT network in Australia. The LoRa Alliance says more than 130 operators in 91 countries have so far launched LoRaWAN-based networks; over 180 million LoRaWAN-based end nodes are forecast to be deployed worldwide on public and private networks by the end of 2020.