November 18, 2019

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Editor’s Note: No Industry Intelligence Nov. 25, Dec. 2

Dear Readers,

Due to the Thanksgiving Day Holiday, Industry Intelligence will not publish on Monday, Nov. 25 or Monday, Dec. 2. We will resume our weekly schedule on Monday, Dec. 9.

Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!

We are thankful for our members!

The Industry Intelligence Team

House Panel Moves Bills on Spectrum, Supply Chain, Broadband

A key House subcommittee passed a slew of bills last week focusing on spectrum policy, broadband mapping, and supply chain security.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Communications and Technology approved the bills in a voice vote after a Nov. 14 markup. The bills now move to the full Energy and Commerce Committee; from there, any bills which clear the committee will move to the House floor.

Among the legislation approved by the Subcommittee are the following bills:

  • R. 5000, the “Studying How to Harness Airwave Resources Efficiently (SHARE) Act of 2019;”
  • R. 4998, the “Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act;”
  • R. 4229, the “Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (Broadband DATA) Act;”
  • R. 2881, the “Secure 5G and Beyond Act of 2019;” and, among others,
  • R. 4461, the “Network Security Information Sharing Act of 2019.”

According to a subcommittee memo, the SHARE Act would require the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), in consultation with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to establish a spectrum sharing and prototyping program and test bed to explore new ways for federal entities to share spectrum with other federal entities. 

The Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act would instruct the FCC to develop and maintain a list of communications equipment and services that pose an unacceptable risk to national security and prohibits the use of funds made available by FCC programs to purchase, rent, lease, or otherwise obtain such equipment and services.

Relatedly, the Secure 5G and Beyond Act would direct the President to develop the “Secure Next Generation Mobile Communications Strategy” in consultation with the heads of the FCC, NTIA, and Department of Homeland Security, as well as the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and Secretary of Defense.

Meanwhile, the Network Security Information Sharing Act would direct the Secretary of Homeland Security, in cooperation with the DNI, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, NTIA, and the FCC, to establish a program to share supply chain security risks with advanced communications service providers and trusted suppliers of telecommunications equipment and services.

The Broadband DATA Act would require the FCC to issue new rules to require the collection and dissemination of granular broadband availability data. It would also require the FCC to establish a process to verify the accuracy of such data, including by using data submitted by other government entities or the public.

Please contact the UTC Public Policy Team with any questions.

Member News: NPPD Teams Up to Accelerate IoT Interconnectivity

Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) last month announced a partnership with Paige Wireless LLC., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Paige Electric L.P., to accelerate the deployment of interconnectivity across Nebraska for computing devices embedded in everyday objects via the Internet, enabling them to send and receive data. Otherwise known as the Internet of Things (IoT), this interconnectivity will be made possible by the Paige Wireless LoRaWAN® network that was recently installed throughout the state.

“The collaboration between Paige Wireless and NPPD will enable the use of breakthrough technology to deliver exciting new programs and services to our customers” stated Pat Pope, CEO of NPPD.

The Paige Wireless network aims to reignite rural America’s status as an epicenter for new, practical technologies that help industries, farmers, businesses, students and communities thrive. Nebraska’s new LoRaWAN® network allows users to deploy low-cost sensors, access real-time data, and make on-demand decisions to improve efficiency, safety, security, actionability, and the bottom line.

On the farm, Paige Wireless is providing solutions to help maximize resources and yield, driven by real-time data. Producers across the state now have greater insight into their daily operations. Paige Wireless’ network exists to enable producers to lower their costs with more efficient water, nutrient, feed and soil health management. The data collected can offer actionable insight and answers into questions about methodology, sustainability and stewardship. The benefits for rural and farmland applications once considered unimaginable are now within reach.

NPPD sees numerous applications including grid communications and security, advanced data collection for asset management, and efficient electrification of the economy as the technology also has the potential to facilitate broadband deployment in underserved rural areas, through innovative partnerships with local telecommunication companies, internet service providers, and wireless internet service providers.

Member News: Ameren Hosts Forum on Technology, Resilience

UTC core utility member Ameren hosted entrepreneurs from six startup companies around the United States and the world to showcase innovative solutions for a smarter and more sustainable energy future earlier this month in St. Louis.

It’s all part of the culmination of the 2019 Ameren Accelerator program, an innovative public-private partnership between Ameren Corporation, the University of Missouri System, UMSL Accelerate and Capital Innovators. The Ameren Accelerator mentors and invests in energy-technology startup companies – with a goal of helping Ameren meet the future energy needs of its customers in Missouri and Illinois.

The Nov. 4 program focused on the theme of “Smart Cities – Connected Communities” in building a more resilient, cleaner and sustainable energy environment. The six participating companies worked to develop technologies that enable businesses, consumers and municipalities to make smarter decisions and improve the quality of life for communities. Those technologies include longer lasting lithium batteries, industrial engines with lower carbon emissions and technology that will help people in developing nations control their power sources.

“Our customers are looking for reliable, clean and affordable energy,” said Warner Baxter, chairman, president and CEO, Ameren Corp. “The six Accelerator companies have developed promising ideas for a sustainable energy future. Through the Ameren Accelerator, we are fostering the development of these companies and their ideas.”

The participating companies – from the United States and England – are Allumina, ClearFlame, Eden GeoTech, HeXalayer, Ovon Tech and Shfyt Power Solutions. As part of Demo Day, the companies presented their efforts to potential customers, investors, corporate executives and the general public.

The Ameren Accelerator is now in its third year. In 2019, more than 430 startups from around the world applied to the program. At least one of the companies in the current cohort has committed to maintaining a St. Louis presence by opening an office and hiring staff, locally. Members of the first two cohorts have created more than 100 new jobs since completing the program, many in the St. Louis area.

Each Accelerator participant receives $100,000 in seed capital and works alongside Ameren leaders and Accelerator partners to develop new energy technologies that will make the energy grid smarter, more reliable, resilient and secure. The companies were paired with an UMSL Accelerate intern and based out of UMSL Accelerate and Capital Innovators’ co-working space in Cortex Innovation Community, a 200-acre innovation and technology district in St. Louis.

For more information about Ameren Accelerator, visit amerenaccelerator.com.

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

Core utility 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.

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 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

CONFERENCE CALLS/WEBINARS!