While the Oklahoma Broadband Office moves ahead in development of extending public broadband service to more rural areas in the state, a national group that advocates private broadband networks reports its membership is more than 100 groups.
Utility Broadband Alliance, formed in 2021, surpassed a major membership milestone with the addition of CenterPoint Energy, Duke Energy and Lower Colorado River Authority to collaboration focused on grid innovation.
So far, there are no major utilities in Oklahoma that have joined the alliance. However, some companies with operations across the state or in adjacent states have joined including Ameren, CenterPoint Energy, Evergy, Xcel Energy, and a few others.
Utilities across the U.S. and globally are realizing the critical role of private broadband in grid modernization as they seek to achieve aggressive sustainability goals and deliver new, connected services to customers. While many utilities currently manage a multitude of siloed, narrowband wireless networks, private broadband can provide the scale and efficiency required to meet customers’ needs for an evolving, distributed digital grid.
“A modernized grid requires high levels of security and efficiency that can only be achieved through the advancement of digital networks,” said Carmine Reppucci, Southern Linc CEO. “Only private broadband can meet the demands for connectivity and efficiency that utility customers require. As a founding member, we share in UBBA’s goal of championing the advancement and development of these networks and are proud to help lead this mission.”
In addition to the inherent benefits of improved resiliency, cybersecurity and efficiency, private broadband networks are essential in helping utilities meet carbon reduction targets. Utilities adding renewables to the grid frequently leverage distributed energy resources (DERs) to provide critical grid stabilization, which in turn requires efficient and effective communication with these grid devices to realize the full range of capabilities.
“Meeting utility clean energy goals can only be achieved with high-speed network communication,” said Carlos Carazo, managing director of Digital Grid Services at Southern California Edison and member of the UBBA Board of Directors. “We are excited to collaborate with other UBBA members on initiatives that help further the adoption of the ubiquitous broadband connectivity that can aid in reducing the grid’s reliance on carbon-based energy sources.”
The Value of UBBA
The rapid growth of UBBA membership serves as a testament to the needs of the utility industry to focus on essential communications infrastructure. Members receive access to a multitude of resources that help accelerate their journey to wireless broadband innovation. These organizations can incubate ideas, evaluate business cases and develop standards for critical infrastructure innovation using standards-based LTE broadband technology. Additionally, UBBA members ensure a faster, safer path to grid digitalization and modernization by learning from other members and leveraging industry successes in broadband network advancement to help strengthen their infrastructure.
“The path toward grid modernization requires collaboration and information sharing,” said Ali Mohammed, senior director of Digital Innovation & Transformation at New York Power Authority and chairman of the UBBA board of directors. “We created the UBBA so utilities seeking to enable digitalization and modernization could learn from their peers and receive best practices to help speed their journey. In just over two years since incorporation, UBBA has brought together major carriers, OEMs and the biggest utilities from across the industry. We are creating opportunities for members to leverage next-generation broadband networks to support grid digitalization and, ultimately, better serve their customers.”
UBBA will host its third annual UBBA Summit & Plugfest October 10-12, 2023, in Minneapolis. Visit the event website to register: www.UBBAplugfest.org. T
Source: Business Wire