Kit Carson Electric Cooperative Receives UTC’s APEX Award

Washington, D.C. – Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, Inc., based in Taos, New Mexico, received the prestigious UTC APEX Award during the organization’s annual Awards Dinner.

As the Utilities Telecom Council’s most prestigious award, the APEX Award pays tribute to the critical role of information and communications technologies in delivering essential energy and water services to communities throughout the world. The award recognizes that in emergencies, utility communications technology saves lives, protects property, speeds restoration, and puts communities on the path to recovery. In normal times, utility communications provide opportunities for communities to enhance economic prosperity, provide innovative new services, and support health, education, and access to critical services.

Recipients are selected by a panel of utility experts based on:

  • Overall Utility Telecom System Design
  • Utility Telecom Sharing with Public Safety
  • Using Utility Telecom for Community Development

Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (KCEC) was selected for deploying a broadband network that will enable smart grid and affordable Internet throughout its service area. In New Mexico, only 43 percent of residents have access to broadband networking. KCEC envisioned a modernized, fiber-based network infrastructure to deliver the benefits of high-speed Internet access to underserved communities, thereby creating Internet-based opportunities and driving economic development among businesses, households, community anchor institutions, and two Native American pueblos.

The project began in the fall of 2011, making KCEC the first ISP in northern and central New Mexico to provide 1 Gbps service. The main line construction project is approximately 91 percent complete, with more than 110 businesses and community anchor institutions connected to broadband fiber. Over the remainder of this year, KCEC will make 1 Gbps broadband service available in 29 communities and will cover 5,000 square miles. Kit Carson’s plan resulted in a network architecture that minimizes TCO and maximizes ROI. Fujitsu Network Communications, Inc., led the FTTH network implementation team as prime integrator. Zhone Technologies and Juniper Networks were technology partners, and Pulse Broadband provided outside plant design and engineering services.

“We needed fiber for our electrical operations, but high-speed connectivity is lacking in our area,” said Luis A. Reyes Jr., Kit Carson’s chief executive officer. “The absence of broadband was creating many quality-of-life and economic development challenges. The co-op responded by designing and executing a strategy that would finally bring broadband to the area in a way that would benefit everyone, and any profit we make from the network goes back to the members in the form of lower electrical rates. It’s the very definition of a win-win relationship.”

The network also will enable smart grid technologies including distribution automation and advanced metering infrastructure, which will enhance service reliability and better enable customers to participate in energy usage management. The network is secure, fully redundant, and compatible with evolving technology.

UTC’s President and CEO Connie Durcsak added, “Broadband is a transformative platform, enabling outcomes in economic development and job creation, telemedicine, and access to world-class education. UTC, through its Rural Broadband Council, has been leading the fight to ensure utilities have a clear path in utilizing their unique skills, field-based assets, and connections with their communities to provide broadband to areas that are currently unserved or underserved by other commercial service providers. Kit Carson is a perfect example of what utilities can accomplish. By building support within its community and with its state and local officials, Kit Carson was able to deliver in just a few short months what others have failed to accomplish: a gigabit pipeline to the digital world.”

Among the many success stories made possible by Kit Carson’s vision and determination:

  • The broadband network enhances other services, such as e911 and fire dispatch, improving the quality of life for locals and visitors.
  • The Sipapu Ski Area, which exists in a very competitive ski market, can now offer high speed Internet to customers for their mobile devices, giving them an edge over other ski resorts.
  • Prior to the launch of service to Red River Fish Hatchery, a division of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, had only been capable of receiving service via a costly T-1 copper line at speeds of 1.5 Mbps or less. Now the operation enjoys a symmetrical consistent speed of 5 Mbps at a fraction of the cost.
  • The Taos Pueblo, one of only eight designated World Heritage Sites, now receives 1 Gigabit per second Internet service speed. The connectivity gives Taos Pueblo and its administration a reliable and robust connection to the Internet and will ultimately allow enable such services as telemedicine, online high school and college courses, job creation, and more.

Utilities are ready to compete and are uniquely positioned to deliver broadband to rural America. Many utilities have experience deploying and utilizing fiber-optic networks for their own use in managing and controlling their systems. All utilities have extensive infrastructure assets and resources that can be immediately leveraged for broadband services. Equally important is the fact, that utilities have existing relationships with their members and customers, making them trusted providers of essential services, including electricity, gas, water – and broadband.

About UTC

Utility information and communications technology (ICT) is integral to reliable and secure utility services. UTC is the premier trade association for information, telecommunications, and operations technologies to identify, innovate and enable mission critical solutions for essential utility services. Since 1948, UTC is the source and resource for ICT solutions, collaboration and advocacy for utilities and other critical infrastructure industries. Visit – www.utc.org

About Kit Carson Electric

Kit Carson Electric Cooperative is a member owned cooperative serving nearly 30,000 members, and is the second largest electric cooperative in the State of New Mexico. Kit Carson Electric provides Electric, Propane, Telecommunication and Broadband services. For more information about Kit Carson Electric visit www.kitcarson.com or contact the Public Information Office at 575-758-2258 or by email at agonzales@kitcarson.com.

– See more at: https://www.utc.org/press-release/kit-carson-electric-cooperative-receives-utc%E2%80%99s-apex-award-0#sthash.IBxzgrwd.dpuf

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