ABB Wireless

Friday, November 6, 2009

Broadband Collaboration -- Key to Expediting Smart Grid Rollouts?

For quicker and smarter implementation of smart grid broadband communications, we believe that a prudent approach is for public utilities, Co-Ops, municipalities and vendors to collaborate and share broadband communications in order to advance important grid initiatives. As Craig Settles, an analyst and president of consulting firm states in his blog about broadband stimulus recipients, “The end goal for Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) applicants would be to strengthen the business case or the technology strategy of the broadband proposal. For the smart grid grant winners, this collaboration can lead to a better overall infrastructure that moves their data more efficiently.”

As Settles aptly points out, “Urban areas definitely need to jump on this opportunity with both feet. Public utilities in Philadelphia and Baltimore are just two major cities that won big grants, and these are areas that have little or no chance at getting an infrastructure grant. But if big cities have broadband adoption and/or public computer center proposals in the queue as Philly does, they possibly can work out a way to tap into aspects of the smart grids wireless network or backhaul. Because the network infrastructure would already be paid for, NOFA applicants can make a stronger case for financial sustainability of the project.”

Moreover, Sarah Reedy reporting from Telephony Online points out that “Two-way communication is critical to essentially all the advanced features of the smart grid, over which consumption data is backhauled. A community can either lend its fiber network to the utility for this backhaul or rely on the utility’s fiber network, if they choose to build their own, for their purposes.”

We couldn’t agree more. In fact, several Tropos Networks customers such as the City of Corpus Christi, Texas, have taken the lead to not only bring intelligence to their local utility communication networks, but to also leverage their investment to include broadband access for the community.

Municipalities, public utilities, and vendors all working together are today helping to make communities greener, safer, and smarter. Let’s continue that trend.