Reuters is running an article today on spectrum for smart grid devices. The debate pits economics against reliability – use of unlicensed spectrum is cheaper because no FCC license is required, but dedicated spectrum reduces the occurrence of interference with other transmissions. Devices have coexisted in the unlicensed bands for some time. For example, bluetooth and wifi already play nice with each other. For the mission-critical smart grid applications, some dedicated spectrum may eventually be needed. Fortunately, those with this bent have a knowledgeable captain at the helm. Rick Boucher (D-VA) is the new Chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the FCC. Boucher previously led the Energy and Environment Subcommittee, where he championed the smart grid provisions in EISA 2007. If dedicated frequencies are the answer, now is the time to ask.

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