Netherlands becomes first country with nationwide Internet of Things

Allowing fridges to meet fridges anywhere in the country

Many countries around the world are beginning to roll out the infrastructure that'll allow physical objects - cars, appliances, buildings and more - to collect and exchange data between themselves in a trend known as the "Internet of Things".

Now, the Netherlands has become the first country in the world to roll out a nationwide network dedicated specifically to this kind of data traffic. Telecoms group KPN has announced that its "LoRa" network is now available across the entire country.

While many devices use Wi-Fi or 3G networks to connect to the web, those options aren't always ideal. Wi-Fi is pretty short-range, while 3G and 4G require a lot of device power. LoRa is one of several low-power, long-range, wide-area alternatives.

Substantial Customer Interest

The first chunk of the network was rolled out in Rotterdam and The Hague in November, but KPN says that "substantial customer interest" allowed it to accelerate the roll-out across the whole country. The technology can piggyback on existing 2G, 3G and 4G phone masts, which just need an extra LoRa antenna and gateway added to function as part of the network.

The company says it already has deals to connect 1.5 million objects and believes that number will grow substantially now the nationwide network is online. Already, trials of the technology are underway with baggage handling at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, depth sounding at the port of Rotterdam and rail switch monitoring at Utrecht Central station.

"As from today the KPN LoRa network is available throughout The Netherlands," KPN said in a statement. "This makes The Netherlands the first country in the world to have a nationwide LoRa network for Internet of Things (IoT) application."

  • Duncan Geere is TechRadar's science writer. Every day he finds the most interesting science news and explains why you should care. You can read more of his stories here, and you can find him on Twitter under the handle @duncangeere.