UK provider Vilicom gets private LTE gig for world’s largest offshore wind farm
UK based telecoms provider Vilicom has struck a deal with Danish power company Ørsted to design and deploy an LTE network at its Hornsea Two offshore wind farm. On completion, in 2022, Hornsea Two will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world.
The LTE network from Vilicom, 90 kilometres off the Yorkshire coast, will be a private setup, using dedicated spectrum. It is unclear whether Ørsted or Vilicom will hold the spectrum licence for the network. Vilicom was unavailable for comment.
A private LTE network for Ørsted’s Hornsea One, 120 kilometres off the Yorkshire Coast and currently crowned as the world’s largest offshore wind farm, was supplied by Norwegian offshore communication network operator Tampnet, which holds spectrum for offshore cellular deployments at 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1.8 GHz and 2.6 GHz.
Hornsea Two will comprise 165 8.4MW turbines across an area of 472 square kilometres, for a total power output of a 1.4GW. The site will generate enough clean electricity to power over 1.3 million homes in the UK. Hornsea One is geared to provide 1.2GW of power to the UK. Vilicom’s communication infrastructure will be built and tested in the UK prior to installation on Hornsea 2.
Tampnet has installed base stations on the reactive compensation station at Hornsea One, securing LTE coverage between shore and the wind farm area. Base stations have also been installed on the three substations, delivering LTE coverage for construction and operations vessels in the vicinity.
Vilicom, an indoor specialist, has also recently signed deals for LTE deployments with Dublin Airport Central sing airtime from Ireland’s three main mobile network operators (Vodafone, Three, Eir), as well as temporary in-building wireless networks for the NHS Louisa Jordan and NHS Nightingale field hospitals in Glasgow’s SEC and Birmingham’s NEC arenas, built as part of the UK response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It has a deal with Mavenir for indoor LTE deployments using the Texas firm’s open virtualised RAN (vRAN) technology to create a ‘connectivity-as-a-service’ offer, aimed at developers, landlords, and business owners. The company said it can host multiple networks using the same core IT infrastructure, streamline operations and delivery, and enable greater network flexibility and dynamic RAN optimisation.
The company said the new contract with Ørsted will support both construction and operation of the new wind farm. Sean Keating, chief executive at Vilicom, said: “We will deploy a fully operational mobile network that spans the entire zone, allowing contractors and workers to have improved wireless access to data and information systems used during construction, as well as the ability to make regular cell calls using personal cell phone equipment.”
Patrick Harnett, senior programme director for Hornsea Two at Ørsted, commented: “In order to act on climate change, we need to make use of the best technologies available. As we build larger offshore wind farms, our colleagues are required to travel further distances. Not only is there a requirement for reliable communication to support our construction technology, but it’s also imperative that our teams are able to remain connected to their families back home.”