BC Hydro is a public corporation owned by the government and people of British Columbia, Canada. It operates and maintains an electricity generation and distribution infrastructure serving more than 1.8 million customers in an area that includes more than 95% of the population of British Columbia.
To perform their work efficiently and safely under both normal and emergency operating conditions, BC Hydro teams need reliable and convenient mobile voice communications at all substations, dams and generating stations, and along all distribution and transmission lines. While voice is the primary requirement, BC Hydro can also use the mobile communications system for data applications, such as short data and text messaging.
BC Hydro chose to develop an open selection process in which most of the existing radio technologies were evaluated: TETRA, P25, DMR and iDEN, among others. The new system had to be an open standard with sufficient efficiency, scalability and a proven track record to provide reliable mobile communications for its various fields of operation.
Although voice was the main driver of the system, the selection also took into account the ability of the different technologies to provide data throughput for possible SCADA and AVL type applications. The availability of the equipment to the end user was also assessed in terms of cost and competitiveness, robustness and accessory portfolio.
BC Hydro selected Teltronic’s North American subsidiary PowerTrunk’s NEBULA infrastructure and Sepura’s radio terminals for a proof of concept to evaluate spectrum efficiency, coverage, features and functionality, interconnection, dispatcher functionality and user devices, a process that ultimately resulted in North America’s first TETRA network.