Red Eléctrica pilots satellite connectivity over power towers
October 20, 2021
By Chris Forrester
Red Eléctrica Group, through its ownership of Spanish satellite operator Hispasat, and electricity distribution business (Red Eléctrica de España) and Elewit, the Group’s technological platform, has carried out a pilot project on a Madrid electricity sub-station in Galapagar to demonstrate the viability of the use of high-voltage electrical infrastructure to provide satellite connectivity that extends cellular and broadband coverage in rural and remote environments that the power lines run through.
The three-month experiment was designed to test if such an arrangement would actually work as there had been some doubt that the high voltages and corresponding electromagnetic consequences would make such operations impossible.
A statement from the company said: “Thanks to all this, the project has also demonstrated that satellite terminals can be installed on Red Eléctrica’s high-voltage towers, which boast extensive connectivity throughout Spain, to roll out connectivity bubbles in rural environments. This solution will contribute to bridging the digital divide and implementing solutions linked to the daily work in rural areas, such as crop and livestock monitoring and fire prevention. Based on these findings, the group is already working on defining a new pilot project aimed at analysing the viability of this model to create 4G/5G bubbles via satellite on high-voltage towers.”
“This initiative is proof of the many possibilities that Hispasat’s satellites offer to bridge the digital divide in Spain and ensure connectivity in every region, including those where other infrastructures cannot reach. The operator boasts universal coverage over 100 per cent of the country which allows it to offer connectivity to any point in Spain. With this solution Hispasat can promote digitalisation in remote areas, which is the basis to provide social stability and ensure digitalisation without leaving anyone behind. Digital connectivity allows the rural world to access a wide variety of solutions, including highspeed broadband access, while also digitalising universal rights such as education and healthcare. Connectivity also promotes development in sectors such as agriculture and forestry and facilitates access to government entities without the need for travel by making it possible for people to handle their administrative processes online. For its part, Elewit works intensely on technological oversight, coordinating innovation within the group and analysing and detecting optimal solutions for every case,” the company added.