Smart grid makes possible distributed medical analysis

Posted on September 13, 2010  /  0 Comments

Fiber put in place for smart grid applications is making possible Gigabyte speed broadband, according to NYT.

The high-speed Internet service is piggybacked on top of the utility’s smart-grid network, which was the reason for stringing the fiber optic cable to homes in the first place. Smart grids are advanced electrical networks that can improve energy efficiency, enable variable pricing based on the time of day, and reduce disruptions. They require digital networks for two-way communications, and computerized meters in homes.

EPB had already begun a smart-grid program before the Obama administration included billions for grants for smart-grid projects in the economic stimulus program in 2009. But the Chattanooga utility did win a $111 million grant from the Energy Department, accelerating its smart-grid plan. The federal funds did not go to subsidize the high-speed Internet service, Mr. DePriest said.

The customers for the fastest offering may be few, but Dr. James Busch will most likely be one of them. He is one of 10 radiologists in a practice that reads and interprets medical images from 14 hospitals and clinics in Tennessee and Georgia. Those data-heavy medical images are shuttled over the Internet.

“The business model works because bandwidth is so available in Chattanooga,” Dr. Busch said.

The bandwidth requirements for the practice will only grow, he said, and the faster service to homes will help. “Our docs will be able to read images from home,” Dr. Busch said. “That could change our practice.”

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