October 26, 2020

Utilities Highlight Synergies, Support Federal Spectrum Sharing

Highlighting the obvious synergies between the public and private sectors, UTC and the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) last week supported a recent solicitation from the Defense Department (DoD) on the possibility of spectrum sharing.

“Sharing spectrum opens the opportunity for the DoD to create synergies with the electric sector to advance the nation’s larger policy objectives and would benefit utilities and military branches of the government in numerous ways, both in practical and policy terms,” UTC and EEI said in comments filed with the Defense Department.

At issue is a request for information DoD released last month seeking insight into solutions and technologies that would enable spectrum sharing between the military agency and the private sector.

UTC has been discussing the possibility of sharing spectrum with DoD for several years. Indeed, since March 2020 UTC staff has convened regular meetings with core utility members to discuss spectrum-sharing possibilities with the agency.

In its comments, UTC and EEI reiterate the common mission of both the electric utility industry and DoD: to serve and protect the public. This commonality makes exploration of spectrum sharing an important initiative.

“Utilities are compatible users of the spectrum and could share spectrum with federal operations without causing interference or other vulnerabilities, particularly as compared with other potential users of the spectrum, such as commercial communications service providers,” UTC and EEI stated. “Utilities and the DoD (as well as other federal agencies) both require highly reliable, resilient and secure communications in order to support their core operations, and sharing spectrum may produce overarching benefits far beyond spectrum efficiency, including synergies which can reduce costs and promote the availability of equipment from commercial manufacturers and suppliers, as described in more detail below.”

UTC core utility members are encouraged to join UTC’s regular discussions on DoD-spectrum sharing.

Please contact the UTC Public Policy Team for any information.

UTC’s Riggs Highlights Key Role Utilities Play in Broadband Deployment

UTC President and CEO Sheryl Riggs touted the utility industry’s efforts to empower broadband deployment throughout the country.

In an interview with the widely distributed Broadband Bunch podcast series, Ms. Riggs also noted the many ways UTC serves the industry on broadband and other key issues.

“All of our departments work together to make sure that we’re doing everything to bring awareness, whether it’s through our content, our webinars, our training programs… our advocacy is basically the voice of our members,” she said. “We work together to make sure that we are also connected, very closely connected, to our members to find out what’s going on the front lines.”

Regarding broadband, in particular, Ms. Riggs highlighted the many ways utilities collaborate amongst themselves and other companies to bring broadband connectivity to the unserved and underserved, whether in rural, urban, or suburban areas.

“I always look at the numbers. I like looking at the numbers because they’re undeniable, and what it shows us, is that it doesn’t matter where you live, whether it’s rural, urban, or a suburban area, broadband accessibility is so important to our nation,” Ms. Riggs said.

“Far too many Americans lack basic access to affordable or reliable broadband,” she added. “Thinking about the big picture, as far as the regulatory issues that our utilities are faced with trying to deploy this, it’s very nice to see and understand how they’re collaborating. Some of the bigger IOUs (Investor Owned Utilities) are actually taking what we call the middle mile as far as they can take it, and then working with the more rural areas, the co-ops, and the municipal utilities to actually take it to the last mile to the consumer. Because, actually, to really solve this problem and make strides, we’re going to have to collaborate and work together, and that’s what, hopefully, UTC is able to do, bring many utilities of different types to the table to have this difficult technology, solution-driven discussions.”

Ms. Riggs particularly highlighted efforts in Virginia and Mississippi, where investor-owned utilities are taking different routes to bring broadband to their customers.

“Collaboration is happening, which is a good thing,” she said. “Utilities are a public service, and our members provide the most essential services in the world, which are electricity, gas, and water. And even now more than ever, when we have more people working remotely, distance learning, and they’re relying on electricity and broadband to do everything, not just cook and the basics, but to live, learn and earn.”

Coming Soon: A New Industry Intelligence!

Editor’s Note: Within the next several weeks, Industry Intelligence will be undergoing an overhaul.

We hope these changes will provide more relevant content with the same UTC focus.

We are in the final stages of mapping out the new newsletter so stay tuned for more over the coming weeks!

–The UTC Industry Intelligence Team

UTC Calendar of Events

Regional Meetings—All Virtual

Webinars

Calendar of UTC committee/division conference calls

Committee/Division calls

  • Nov. 10: UtiliSite Committee Call—For more information, contact Bob Lockhart
  • Nov. 10: Knowledge & Learning Committee Call—For more information, contact Bob Lockhart
  • NOTE NEW DATE! Nov. 16: Security, Risk, & Compliance Committee Call—For more information, contact Bob Lockhart
  • Nov. 17: Utilities Broadband Committee Call—For more information, contact Brett Kilbourne
  • Nov. 18: IT/OT Committee Call—For more information, contact Bob Lockhart
  • Nov. 19: Public Policy Division Call–For more information, contact Rob Thormeyer
  • Nov. 19: Telecom Committee Call—For more information, contact Brett Kilbourne