The Plumas and Sierra Counties in California are testing a smart grid using the television broadcasting system’s "white space".

"White space" is the part of the broadcast spectrum left vacant when television broadcasting is switched from analogue to digital. It can transmit data significantly faster than the current standard Internet Wi-Fi, and can be broadcast for extended distances and through obstacles – making it ideal for use in smart grid communications.

The Plumas and Sierra Counties are located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and present some very technical challenges with respect to wireless coverage – making them a good test site for the technology.

The smart grid trial is being conducted by Spectrum Bridge, which has a database which dynamically assigns white space frequences to prevent interfernce with TV broadcasts, Google which is providing power metering and control software and the local electricity and telecommunications utility.