IDC Report Highlights Need for Broadband to Digitalize Power Networks

IDC Report Highlights Need for Broadband to Digitalize Power Networks

PRIME Alliance announces updates on standards to ease adoption of broadband by utilities at ENLIT 2021

Brussels, December 14, 2021 – PRIME Alliance, (PoweRline Intelligent Metering Evolution), a consortium of utilities and companies collaborating to set up real interoperability telecommunications solutions for smart grids deployment, announced the release of an IDC report which found that broadband will soon become mainstream in the utility industry. Within this context, broadband over power technology (BPL) will have a clear opportunity to contribute to the telecommunications technologies mix within utilities’ future operations.

In the report, IDC – one of the premier research and media firms in the US – highlights broadband’s unique ability to transmit data quickly and securely. BPL offers “a good balance of technical capabilities (e.g., low latency, high availability) and cost, as this technology uses existing power line wiring to transmit the signal.” The report also added that “field results obtained so far demonstrate that these [BPL] products can reach physical data rates in the range of 150 to 250 Mbps.”

The report was commissioned by the PRIME Alliance, developers of a mature, consolidated worldwide powerline communication (PLC) standard for advanced metering, grid control and asset monitoring applications. After years of designing an interoperable and open specification for the implementation of broadband-power-line (BPL) telecommunications technology, the Alliance announced its advanced status at the energy conference ENLIT in Milan on November 30, 2021.

The General Secretary of the PRIME Alliance, Miguel Sanchez-Fornie, notes:
“the IDC report indicates that 9 out of 11 utility respondents plan to use BPL in their smart grids deployments, marking an industry inflection point in the adoption of this communication technology for grid digitalization”

IDC’s report detailed four specific use cases that utilities in Europe have validated:

  • BPL smart meters with BPL concentrators, enabling edge computing in the electric grid.
  • Coexistence of BPL and narrowband (NB) powerline communication, enabling utilities to incrementally add BPL to existing narrowband solutions.
  • BPL smart meter gateways, enabling sensing and demand management.
  • BPL on medium voltage lines, enabling backhaul and traffic aggregation in the network formed by the electric grid.

In addition, IDC’s report states that “the need for lower latency [and] cyber-secure communication, will top the priorities list of future smart grids. BPL semiconductors have significant computational power that enables the future implementation of edge computing, AI, and even blockchain applications in BPL nodes.”
Network digitalization is indirectly being pushed by regulators who have already mandated that utilities offer consumers and decentralized producers both security and near to real-time data about the grid, pricing, and power use.

Utilities should consider leveraging their existing infrastructure by adopting broadband to transmit millions of messages per minute, which is desperately required to manage increasingly complex networks.

Discover the main findings here!

About the IDC Report
The report was funded by CORINEXELSEWEDY ELECTROMETERE.ONSAGEMCOMUVAX AND ZIV. The complete version will be available for members of the PRIME Alliance.
About PRIME Alliance
PRIME (PoweRline Intelligent Metering Evolution) Alliance AISBL was created in 2009 to define an open and future-proofed communications PLC-based infrastructure to support large scale smart metering and other smart grid deployments. The goal of the Alliance is to provide a framework in which the smart metering and smart grid industry have access to open detailed technical specifications in order to develop fully interoperable solutions, allowing multiple vendors to be operational within the same distribution network in one common system architecture. The PRIME Alliance provides a forum for the definition, maintenance and support of an open and comprehensive standard for narrowband power line for Smart Grid products and services. The Alliance is open to all potential partners who agree to actively support and promote an open and public specification for the benefit of the end-user and all industry stakeholders. Visit for more information or to join the Alliance