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Cisco Systems Partners With Grid Net, Linking WiMax to the Smart Grid

in Broadband's Impact/National Broadband Plan/Smart Grid/Wireless by

WASHINGTON, March 26, 2010 - On Friday, Cisco Systems announced a partnership with Grid Net, a smart meter company that employs WiMax Technology to send data about electricity usage back to utility companies. Grid Net has also garnered with ClearWire, Motorola, Intel, and General Electric. With the investment by Cisco, Grid Net is poised to become the leader in smart meters in America.

The move by Cisco highlights a recent recommendation of the national broadband plan released last week by the Federal Communications Commission: using high-speed connectivity to create a “smart grid” that allow for consumers to obtain better cost and usage information for their electricity and other utilities.

There are many possible ways to create such a smart grid. Traditionally, it would be done using terrestrial wireline connectivity. Increasingly, however, utilities would prefer a wireless solution that cuts out landline competitors. While Wi-Fi is the most pervasive wireless technology, its short range makes it undesirable for a large smart grid. WiMax, on the other hand, is a much longer-range technology. WiMax is only beginning to take off in the United States, with particular investment by ClearWire. Among the strategic investors in ClearWire include Intel Capital, Comcast, Sprint, Google, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks.

Rahul Gaitonde has been writing for since the fall of 2009, and in May of 2010 he became Deputy Editor. He was a fellow at George Mason University’s Long Term Governance Project, a researcher at the International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology and worked at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. He holds a Masters of Public Policy from George Mason University, where his research focused on the economic and social benefits of broadband expansion. He has written extensively about Universal Service Fund reform, the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and the Broadband Data Improvement Act

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