December 16, 2019

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FCC Should Seek Higher Speed Benchmark in Broadband Assessment: UTC

UTC urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC, the Commission) to increase its proposed speed benchmark for determining whether broadband is being deployed on a reasonable and timely basis.

In comments last week, UTC told the agency that its proposed benchmark speed of 25/3 Mbps is outdated and will not allow it to accurately determine whether broadband is being deployed across the U.S.

UTC made these comments in response to the Commission’s Broadband Progress Report, released in October. The report was controversial over concerns regarding the data the agency used and for using a slower speed to define broadband (Industry Intelligence, Oct. 28, 2019).

“As UTC has commented in numerous other proceedings, the Commission should increase the benchmark speed that it uses to define broadband,” UTC stated. “Numerous comments on the record in response to the NOI agree with UTC that 25/3 Mbps is already becoming outdated.”

UTC also urged the Commission not to consider mobile broadband as a “functional substitute” for fixed-wireline broadband services. Because fixed-wireline broadband is typically suited for higher speeds and greater capacity, the FCC should not consider mobile broadband as a substitute, UTC said.

“Capacity on a fixed wireline broadband connection is typically much greater and better suited for streaming video than mobile broadband connections, which is also true for file sharing applications as well,” UTC said. “Moreover, there are limitations associated with mobile broadband, including data caps and additional fees, which are at odds with truly unlimited services that are available on fixed wireline broadband services.”

Please contact the UTC Public Policy Team with any questions.

IEEE Approves Work on 802.16 Standard

A key engineering panel is authorizing work to begin on a wireless protocol standard addressing WiMAX issues.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) 802 Executive Committee approved a project-authorization request to revise the IEEE 802.16 standard dealing with the WiMAX protocol.

The IEEE 802.16s version is “skinny WiMAX,” allowing for channel bandwidths as small as 100 kHz. An update to this standard was proposed to the IEEE board that reduces channel size and allows for channel bandwidth aggregation to create virtual channels, combining the throughput of all the channels. The new version of the standard will be named IEEE 802.16t.

IEEE’s 802 Executive Committee’s approval means work on the standard can begin immediately. The first face to face meeting will be at the IEEE 802 Interim session meeting in Irvine, CA, in January.

While the official dates of the meeting are Jan. 12-17, the IEEE 802.16t meetings to be held from Jan. 14-16. Although UTC is considering the formation of a working group to provide members with a report with standard activity, any utility seeking to participate in the development of the standard is encouraged to attend the Irvine meeting.

Contact Klaus Bender for more information.

UTC Forms 700 MHz A Block Working Group

UTC has created a working group for 700 MHz A Block issues within the Telecom Committee.

The group will review issues related to challenges to license renewal, interference from adjacent channel broadband operations and the standards work related to 700 MHz and the 3GPP IoT standard effort and provide timely reports.

A chairperson for the group is in place and we seek members interested in participating.

To sign up and participate in the group, please contact Klaus Bender or Brett Kilbourne for more information.

Draft Policy Resolutions for May 2020 T&T Meeting Due Jan. 31

Members of the Utilities Technology Council have until Jan. 31, 2020, to submit ideas or concepts for potential policy resolutions to be adopted at the association’s annual Telecom & Technology conference next May.

This will mark the third time UTC pursues policy positions through the resolution process as approved by the UTC Board in its December 2017 meeting.

Any UTC core utility member can submit a proposed resolution or ideas for a resolution to UTC’s Public Policy Team by Jan. 31. Only UTC core utility members can submit a resolution; if a vendor member has an idea, it must be sponsored and submitted by a core utility member.

Once all the proposed resolutions are collected by UTC staff, the Public Policy Division (PPD) will formally accept and discuss the proposals during its regularly scheduled February meeting. PPD members will have the opportunity to edit and debate the proposed resolutions prior to its March call, at which point the division will vote on the resolutions. This call will be open to all UTC core utility members.

Any resolutions cleared by the PPD will be submitted for review and consideration by the entire UTC membership at the annual Telecom and Technology meeting in Providence, RI, from May 18-22. Resolutions for consideration at the annual meeting must be distributed to the entire association membership no later than two weeks prior to the event. Additionally, the proposed resolutions will also be posted on the UTC Website.

UTC’s core utility members will vote on the proposed resolutions during the association’s business meeting at the annual conference. Each UTC core utility member company will have one vote during the meeting, meaning that core members must designate one person to cast the company’s vote.

Any resolutions approved at the annual Telecom and Technology meeting will be considered official UTC policy and will inform the association as it advocates for its members in Washington and elsewhere.

For more information, please contact UTC’s Public Policy Team. An FAQ about the resolutions process is available here.

Resolutions approved at since 2018 annual meeting are available here.

UTC CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Calendar of UTC committee/division conference calls

  • May 18-22, 2020: Telecom & Technology Annual Meeting, Providence, RI
  • Dec. 17: Utilities Broadband Committee Call—For more information, contact Brett Kilbourne
  • Dec: 17:  UTC Training Webinar: LTE, 5G and the Future of Utility Communications
  • Dec. 18: IT/OT Committee Call—For more information, contact Bob Lockhart
  • Dec. 19: Telecom Committee Call—For more information, contact Brett Kilbourne
  • Dec. 19: UTC Training Webinar: IEC61850 in the Modern Substation
  • Dec. 20: Security, Risk, and Compliance Committee Call—For more information, contact Sharla Artz