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Will Consumer-Friendly Smart Meters Pave the Way to Smart Grid Adoption?

in Broadband Data/FCC/National Broadband Plan/Press Releases/Smart Grid by

November 14, 2011 – When the Federal Communications Commission identified six concrete goals in the national broadband plan, the one specific application highlighted by the agency was energy consumption: “To ensure that America leads in the clean energy economy, every American should be able to use broadband to track and manage their real-time energy consumption.”

This goal – tracking and managing energy consumption – is right at the intersection of two trends that will be explored at the Broadband Breakfast Club on Tuesday, November 15: “The Smart Grid and Broadband.” Click here http://broadbandbreakfast.eventbrite.com to register for this event.

Tomorrow’s event will feature a keynote from the office of the Chief Technology Officer and a panel of experts including officials from AT&T, Opower, Schneider Electric and Pepco. The event itself will be moderated by Katie Fehrenbacher, founding editor of Earth2Tech.com and a writer for GigaOm.com.

Katie is one of the country’s top experts on the smart grid. For a cheat sheet on the industry and its key players, visit http://gigaom.com/cleantech/faq-smart-grid/. Also see her article on AT&T’s links with the smart grid player Digi and a separate piece on smart grid standards.

There is no question that the smart grid is going to deliver reams and reams of data. “If 140 million smart meters are installed in the U.S. over the next ten years they could produce a massive 100 petabytes of data,” says Katie. At tomorrow’s panel, experts will be asked what kind of broadband connections are going to be necessary to handle this load of data.

Among the players on the panel include:

  • Jeffrey Dygert, Executive Director, Public Policy, AT&T
  • Arkadi Gerney, Senior Director, Policy, Partnerships and Public Affairs, Opower
  • Paul Hamilton, Vice President of Government Affairs, Schneider Electric
  • Sunil Pancholi, Smart Grid Program Manager, Pepco

Additionally, it’s possible that there will be some debate between utilities and telecommunications providers.

At a previous Broadband Breakfast Club on the impact of high-speed internet on the smart grid in July 2010, officials from Verizon Communications and the Utilities Telecom Council sparred over whether utilities feel the need to use their own telecommunications network – or whether they can partner with telcos and wireless companies – to provide the data that will monitor energy consumption.

The same subject also came up during a September 2009 Broadband Breakfast Club on energy, the environment, and telecommuting.

Tomorrow’s event will be keynoted by Nick Sinai, senior advisor to the Chief Technology Officer in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, who previously served as the Energy and Environment Director of the Federal Communications Commission’s Omnibus Broadband Initiative.

Nick has been integral to exploring how broadband and advanced communications can help the nation achieve its goals of energy independence and energy efficiency, and was instrumental in ensuring that the goal – “every American should be able to use broadband to track and manage their real-time energy consumption.”

Finally, it’s worth noting that the November Broadband Breakfast Club builds on our September event, “Making Cities of the Future Smarter Through Broadband,” and our event in October, “Bringing Broadband Infrastructure to Rural Areas: Where is the Progress?

Whether the topic is “smart cities,” or stringing power wires to rural electric co-ops, the smart grid is likely to play a key role in raising the intelligence of the American infrastructure.

The September event featured New City Councilmember Gail Brewer; the October event featured U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager.

The Broadband Breakfast Club is sponsored by Comcast, Google, ICF International, Intel, National Cable and Telecommunications Association, Telecommunications Industry Association, and US Telecom.

Register for Tuesday’s Broadband Breakfast Club.

Drew Clark is the Chairman of the Broadband Breakfast Club, the premier Washington forum advancing the conversation around broadband technology and internet policy. You can find him on and Twitter. He founded BroadbandCensus.com, and he brings experts and practicioners together to advance Better Broadband, Better Lives. He’s doing that now as Executive Director for Broadband Illinois, based in Abraham Lincoln’s Springfield.

Drew Clark is the Chairman of the Broadband Breakfast Club. He tracks the development of Gigabit Networks, broadband usage, the universal service fund and wireless policy @BroadbandCensus. He is also Of Counsel with the firm of Best Best & Krieger LLP, with offices in California and Washington, DC. He works with cities, special districts and private companies on planning, financing and coordinating efforts of the many partners necessary to construct broadband infrastructure and deploy “Smart City” applications. You can find him on LinkedIN and Twitter. The articles and posts on BroadbandBreakfast.com and affiliated social media are not legal advice or legal services, do not constitute the creation of an attorney-client privilege, and represent the views of their respective authors.

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