Arqiva delivers new satellite solution for UK Power Networks

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Replaces legacy paging-based system with portable, all-in-one BGAN terminals

Arqiva, the UK communications and infrastructure media services provider, has been selected by Britain’s biggest electricity distributor, UK Power Networks, to provide a new state-of-the-art Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) M2M solution for its secondary Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) network.

The solution will enable UK Power Networks’ engineers to remotely operate equipment to restore customers’ power supplies quickly in the event of a power cut, and monitor and receive regular status updates from the field.

With its existing paging-based system reaching its end-of-life, and network coverage needed across remote areas with limited space for networking equipment, UK Power Networks was looking for a replacement solution with a maximum terminal size of 40cm.

The new multi-year framework agreement will see Arqiva partner with Inmarsat to leverage its highly reliable network and new portable, all-in-one BGAN terminals, which measure 20cm by 20cm. The light-weight solutions are also very easy to install.

In addition to meeting the size requirements, the solution Arqiva delivered to UK Power Networks needed to be able to readily scale to keep pace with the anticipated increase in SCADA communications across the low voltage (LV) network.

To future proof the communications network it also had to provide resilience to power failures, high levels of availability, low latency transactional messaging and be designed to withstand potential security attacks. With expertise in cyber security and extensive knowledge of communication networks for critical national infrastructure companies, Arqiva’s technical team was able to design a solution that meets UK Power Networks’ needs to monitor and control the distribution power network economically.

Roger Yeo, Operational Telecoms Manager at UK Power Networks, said, “As one of our existing SCADA services providers, we already have a great relationship with Arqiva so were delighted that the team was able to find a solution for our secondary network. Offering a fully managed service, combined with deep expertise in critical national infrastructure and strong cyber-security credentials we knew Arqiva was the right partner for us.”

The BGAN M2M solution is a new service offering for Arqiva, and an important addition to its Satellite Data Communications portfolio for the utilities industry – building on its Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) solution and allowing it to broaden into other SCADA networks.

Olivier Loriot, Head of Sales, Satellite Data Communications at Arqiva, explained, “Thanks to both our heritage in the utility industry, and first-hand knowledge of the type of regulations it faces, we feel uniquely placed to understand the challenges customers like UK Power Networks face. We are committed to finding new and innovative ways to serve their businesses and are excited about the opportunities extending our portfolio into the BGAN space could bring.”

Following testing and an initial trial phase, a full rollout is expected to take place from Q1 2020.