Queensland utility Ergon Energy has struck an agreement with Broadcast Australia that could help it lower the ongoing cost of a P25 digital radio system rollout.
The system is being deployed by Ergon Energy and Airwave Solutions Australia, a subsidiary of Broadcast Australia.
The rollout started in November last year in the Warwick and Toowoomba areas, ahead of a state-wide deployment covering up to 180 sites.
Broadcast Australia is now being formally brought into that deal, inking a separate agreement that will grant Ergon volume discounts for using Broadcast Australia tower sites to host radio communications infrastructure for the P25 network.
Broadcast Australia's strategy and corporate development director, Brett Savill, told iTnews it was still undecided how many of the 180 radio sites needed by Ergon would piggyback on Broadcast Australia towers and infrastructure.
"Basically, the [Broadcast Australia] group companies said, 'If you do roll it out to our sites, we'll give you an incentive to roll it out. The more of our sites you go to the cheaper the price you'll pay'," Savill said.
Savill said the agreement was "a good deal" for Broadcast Australia, as the impending switch-off of analogue television in Australia increasingly left it with more tower real estate.
"We've got the analogue switch-off coming up now so we have a lot of space on our sites and towers," he said.
"We're very interested in attracting as many radcomms [radio communications] and telecommunications companies onto those sites as possible".
The P25 network is to be used for telemetry and communication among electricity field staff working in remote parts of the state.
Ergon Energy's telecommunications facilities development advisor, Warren Wackerling, said in a statement that its network acted as "the backbone for interconnecting Ergon Energy's offices, depots and substations and further management of the power network across Queensland".
"This volume discount agreement with Broadcast Australia will be instrumental in helping deliver cost savings," he said.