DECC predict smart meter network coverage

Predicting smart meter Home Area Network (HAN) coverage in Great Britain (GB)

This case study describes how Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) worked with Ordnance Survey (OS) as part of its Smart Meter 868MHz HAN trial to predict the number of premises at which a 868MHz HAN solution would work.

Through this OS supplied a tabular, spatially-derived dataset of GB properties DECC was able to filter to estimate HAN coverage statistics – significantly reducing time, resources and technological requirements.

  • AddressBase Premium
  • OS MasterMap Topography Layer


The Government committed to ensure that every home and business in the country was offered a smart meter by 2020, delivered as cost effectively as possible.

However, some key challenges needed to be addressed to meet this:

  • Home Area Network (HAN) coverage at 868MHz is a function of radio frequency (RF) transmitter power, RF receiver sensitivity, building size, meter location and local density of buildings. However there were key data gaps:
    • Lack of data on property and building sizes.
    • Lack of data on building density.
  • Higher transmitter powers provide greater coverage, but at additional cost. Before DECC could specify transmitter power it needed GB HAN coverage evidence to allow it to estimate the benefits (increased coverage) of different powers.
  • There was limited time to complete the project as evidence was needed for an upcoming consultation milestone.


Ordnance Survey used data provided under the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA)* to deliver a tabular, spatially-derived dataset of property and building sizes and building density that allowed DECC to estimate HAN coverage statistics on a national and local scale.

The algorithms created dimensions of each premise in GB as well as other data such as height, postcode, density percentile band, multi occupancy band, building classification, length 2D band, circulatory band (a ratio between area and perimeter), building height band, and rural building with outbuildings. Propagation distances derived from various HAN technologies were then used to filter the building data.

*From 1 April 2020, the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA), was superseded by the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement (PSGA).


DECC was able to estimate GB HAN coverage at different transmit powers and receiver sensitivities, allowing it to estimate the benefits of different transmitter powers. This was fed into DECC’s wider analysis and allowed the Department to reach a position on how to implement the 868MHz HAN solution.

OS delivered a commissioned dataset which enabled coverage calculations at a national and local scale.

DECC was happy with the outcome as the OS data allowed it to reach a decision in the required timescale. Any alternatives would have taken months longer to complete.

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"OS is the authoritative expert in providing mapping data to support decision-making. DECC was able to benefit from its data analytical expertise to support delivery of the Smart Meter Implementation Programme. Within a short time frame, OS was able to deliver a commissioned dataset to our specifications which enable coverage calculations at national and local scale"

Kirsty Revell, 868MHZ Solution Lead, DECC

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Products and solutions featured in this study

  • AddressBase Premium

    An addressing gazetteer offering full lifecycle information of a property that can be used within geographical information systems & database systems.

  • OS MasterMap Topography Layer

    A map dataset of Great Britain's landscape – from roads to fields, to buildings and trees, fences, paths and more.