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Utilities Are Projected to Spend Over $113B on Networking and Communications Equipment and Services

The need for more robust, grid-wide connectivity and visibility remains clear as utilities digitalize to adapt to a rapidly transforming operating environment. Interest in 4G and private LTE among larger utilities worldwide is growing, and low power wide area (LPWA) options are also finding their place in the mix for smart metering, especially in emerging markets, and for asset monitoring and predictive maintenance applications.

According to a new report from Guide House Insights, utilities are projected to spend more than $113 billion on networking and communications equipment and services between 2020 and 2030.


“Utilities in 2020 have new options for their networking needs.” Says Richelle Elberg, principal research analyst with Guidehouse Insights. “Globally, shared spectrum options are emerging, and in the US, new spectrum bands are available for critical infrastructure needs. As such, accelerating investment is expected throughout the next decade as utilities build their communications networks.”


Globally, $8.3 billion is forecast for investments in smart grid communications equipment and services in 2020. Of this total, $7.4 billion is attributable to utility CAPEX in networking equipment. Services, which include leased lines, cellular service, tower leasing, satellite services, and LPWA solutions, are anticipated to account for $954 million. Through 2030, equipment spend is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.8% to $10.7 billion. Utility spend on services will likely rise at a CAGR of 8.7% to $2.2 billion in 2030.


The report, Market Data: Networking and Communications for Smart Grids and Utility Applications, provides a granular look at how utilities are building their communications networks, detailing the technologies employed and the applications supported by these networks. Ten-year forecasts for investment by utilities in more than a dozen communications hardware and services are included. Spend on services, including cellular, satellite, leased lines/TDM, and tower leasing, is detailed. Forecasts are broken out for five global regions. Further breakouts are provided for the US. Supported applications covered include smart metering networks, distribution automation, and substation automation at the transmission, distribution, and secondary transformer station levels. Asset monitoring is also covered.

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