Community Networks and Lighting


On my LinkedIn group, Rural and Remote Community Broadband, I was just reminded about a venture tha I was involved in a few years ago and it involved looking at revenue generation opportunities for locally owned open access community networks using street lights for network infrastructure.

What I was not aware of then was the fact that the older style street lamps when they started to fail, started to flicker, and eventually damaged the ballast, the most expensive part of the street light. What this particular company had was a patent that monitored the light and would turn it off before damage was done. Of course the only way to tell if a light was out for whatever reason was only if someone notified you or road crews were sent out to check them in the night. Intersections without adequate lighting provided the greatest risk and liability to a community.

Basically a system was devised initially to turn on a bright LED light visible in the daylight when the lamp was turned off. The next step was to network them together to report the failures centrally as well as having the capability to reduce the power to the lights to save energy costs during say 1;00am to 5:00am in the morning. These savings then became some of the revenue associated with providing the open access network infrastructure for not only Internet coverage and community WiFi access but meter reading another source of revenue.

The technology has evolved considerably since then but the basic returns on investment are still there. There are several companies now in this field of endeavor. The one that I worked with was Streetlight Intelligence, in Victoria, British Columbia, http://www.streetlightiq.com/.

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