USDA hits target of $250 million for smart-grid funding

The US Department of Agriculture says it has now provided a total of $269 million to fund the development of smart grids in America’s rural communities, beating its investment goal of $250 million.

The target formed part of President Obama’s plan to modernize the country’s electrical system, helping utilities to become more efficient and consumers to save money by reducing energy use in homes and businesses.

Taiwan to invest $4.4 billion in nationwide smart grid: report

Taiwan’s government is to invest NT$130 billion ($4.4 billion) in the deployment of a national smart grid over the next 20 years, according to a report from Taiwan Today.

The report claims the plan has already secured the backing of the Cabinet and says an interagency task force will soon be formed.

Taiwan’s Bureau of Energy, under its Ministry of Economic Affairs, has said the construction of a smart grid is needed to help Taiwan reduce its carbon emissions and become more energy efficient.

inthinc teams up with Orbcomm on telematics

inthinc Technology Solutions (Salt Lake City, USA) has announced that satellite operator Orbcomm (Fort Lee, USA) will support its telematics and fleet-management applications.

The telematics company serves fleet industries in the US heavy equipment and oil and gas sectors, among others.

Its products provide alerts and information to drivers and fleet managers that inthinc claims can improve driver behavior, reduce crashes, increase fleet productivity and reduce emissions.

IMS claims new car hardware is "most advanced" to date

M2M company Intelligent Mechatronic Systems (IMS) (Waterloo, Canada) claims a new in-vehicle telematics device, due to launch early next year, will work with any vehicle and represents its most advanced connected car hardware to date.

IMS says it developed its new DriveSync device to be the “most universal” on the market, meaning it can work in vehicles that do not have OBD-2 ports, such as new hybrid and electric vehicles and diesel fuel vehicles.

SCE to begin installing smart meters in San Joaquin Valley

Southern California Edison (SCE), the biggest utility in the state, has announced that it will begin installing smart electric meters at the end of the month in the San Joaquin Valley.

The deployment will form part of the Edison SmartConnect program, a $1.6 billion project authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission to help realise California’s energy policy targets.

The objectives include reducing greenhouse gas omissions by around 365,000 metric tonnes per year and helping California to generate a third of its electricity from renewables by 2020.

Alcatel-Lucent unveils restructuring plan to cut costs

Alcatel-Lucent (Paris, France) has announced further restructuring plans as part of its effort to slash €1.25 billion ($1.6 billion) in costs by the end of 2013.

The Franco-American networks equipment manufacturer aims to strengthen its sales organization and reshape a number of corporate functions under the new proposals.

The company is to scrap the regional structure at its four major business units and run each one as a global unit. From January 2013, it will also cut the number of executive committee members from 12 to six.

FCC to vote on auction of unused broadcasting spectrum

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates the US communications industry, is to vote this month on whether to proceed with an auction of unused spectrum currently held by TV broadcasters.

Under the latest proposal, the spectrum would be made available for wireless broadband use, as outlined in the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, while broadcasters would receive a share of the auction proceeds.

The proposal has already won the support of Congress and the FCC’s approval could allow an auction to happen as soon as 2014.

UK government scraps planning regulations for superfast broadband

The UK government hopes to speed progress to a superfast broadband future by allowing operators to roll out their networks without gaining the planning approval normally required by authorities.

Under new rules announced by Maria Miller, who replaced Jeremy Hunt as culture secretary in a cabinet reshuffle earlier this month, operators will be able to install street cabinets and other broadband equipment without first seeking approval from local councils.

Dutch spectrum auction attracts five participants

The Dutch mobile-phone market looks set for a shake-up after five companies signed up to participate in a forthcoming spectrum auction.

Government agency Agentschap Telecom (AT) plans to award spectrum in six separate frequency bands ranging between 800MHz and 2600MHz.

Slots of 2x5MHz will be sold off in the 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 1900MHz, 2100MHz and 2600MHz bands.

The regulator aims to begin the auction on October 31 and says license winners will be allowed to provide voice and data services using whatever technologies they like.

Indian mobile market records first-ever drop in subscriber numbers

India’s mobile-phone market has registered its first-ever decline in subscriber numbers, according to data recently published by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

The regulatory body says that customer numbers dropped by more than 20 million over the July period, falling from 965.52 million to 944.81 million.

The decline mainly affected Reliance Communications (Mumbai, India), the country’s second-biggest operator, which disconnected some 20.48 million ‘inactive’ customers in July.

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