ABB Wireless

Monday, May 23, 2016

Utilities: Leaving Leased Lines for Private Wireless Networks

Due to increases in leased line fees and reports that public telcos are discontinuing leased line services, utilities are questioning if leased lines will continue to be a viable communication option. While this is a problem, it is also the catalyst utilities need to take control of their field area data communication systems.

By relying on public telcos, utilities have placed too much dependency on arms-length service providers. This dependency has resulted in no control over the technology lifecycle and no influence over pricing, as both are driven by the telcos’ core consumer and enterprise customer base. Utilities can take control by using private broadband communication networks to replace leased lines and capitalize on the ability to:

  • Control the technology lifecycle: The utility can undertake a one-time project to deploy a modern communication system with a 10-to-15-year lifespan.
  • Reduce O&M costs: The main area of O&M cost savings is the major reduction, if not outright elimination, of the monthly fees paid to a telco for leased line services, fees that are escalating rapidly.
  • Enhance reliability: If the utility needs four or five 9s of system availability, a network capable of delivering that level of availability can be designed and deployed.

Additionally, private wireless networks offer a foundation for capacity and physical growth as new applications are added and service territories are adjusted. Through ownership, the utility can now determine size of coverage areas, bandwidth, availability, security and quality of service (QoS) mechanisms, as well as define which tradeoffs to make between cost and network availability and when to phase out older technologies in favor of new ones.

It is this kind of control that will allow utilities to not only survive through today’s changes, but thrive well into the future as the grid gets smarter and instantaneous data is not only recommended, but mandatory. Are you ready for a modern wireless communications infrastructure?