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Broadband Breakfast Club Video on Smart Grid Initiative Plays Up Fiber and Wireless Role for Advanced Energy

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WASHINGTON, June 28, 2013 – The status of the development of the national smart grid and its relationship to broadband buildouts was the center of discussion at the June 2013 Broadband Breakfast Club.

The concept of smart grid is a marriage of intelligence and communications, said David Wollman, Deputy Director of the Smart Grid and Cyberphysical Systems Program Office in the Engineering Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, in his keynote speech.

He discussed NIST’s role in leading the development of smart grid interoperability standards and protocols, as well its charge to help develop a roadmap and advanced energy systems advancements toward a national smart grid rollout.

The event was entitled, “Advanced Energy, Smart Grid and Fiber to the Home: Using Advanced Energy to Jumpstart Fiber Builds.” (Story continues below the videos.)

Event Highlights

Complete Program

Stemming from a Presidential Directive and the Energy Information and Sustainability Act of 2007, the Department of Energy is the lead smart grid office, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is the overall industry convener, and NIST was tasked with the role of smart grid standards, protocols and systems development, Wollman said.

NIST is working to mesh standards and protocols for technologies already in place in the utility and telecom systems, as well as to develop new standards and protocols for interface in the home. Woolman also spoke about broadband fiber as a gateway to the home, replacing traditional electricity meters.

Consumers can be engaged to take advantage of the high-bandwidth capability that broadband offers through efforts like the Green Button Initiative. In it, utilities collect data on energy usage, consumption and performance on a continuous basis. Building managers can click and download the data. This could enable new services that account for energy usage patterns, such as home security systems.

In the panel discussion that followed, John Hewa, Vice President of Technology and Research at the National Rural and Electric Cooperative Association, said that utility cooperatives are taking an active role in the smart grid rollout. Co-ops are already pushing beyond simple smart meters and addressing in-utility facility advancements toward energy conservation with regard to conductors, feeder switches and other technologies that interface, shape and reduce load.

By contrast, James Salter, CEO of Atlantic Engineering, said utilities’ focus has been on wireless solutions for smart grid applications. That, he said, misses the key benefit: the ability to take advantage of changing consumer demand for energy. The current low cost of electricity disincentivizes companies, and consumers, to push for new “demand-response” applications concerning energy usage.

C. David Hudgins, President of Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, said today is just the beginning of the smart grid revolution. He referred to the slow pace of change as the fact that the industry is still operating on “utility time.”

Additionally, Hudgins highlighted a growing movement in Virginia to reject smart meters as privacy invasions. A recent before the Virginia General Assembly would have shifted the burden for consumers to “opt-in” to obtaining a smart meter, instead of “opting out” of receiving such a meter. Although the measure was defeated, Hudgins said the battle set back adoption of the smart grid.

Malcolm Woolf, Vice President of Government Relations for Advanced Energy Economy, agreed that we are at the tip of the iceberg for both advanced energy and smart grid.

The old utility-based model of centralized electricity generalization is under assault by a whole array of disruptive technologies, including demand response, distributive generation, electric vehicle charging, and many forms of consumer engagement providing an array of services. Woolf’s organization, Advanced Energy Economy, aims to bring players together to develop the disruptive technologies and that will drive the smart grid.

Hewa said that rural electric utilities have thousands of smart grid projects involving “demand response,” together with safety, reliability, and consumer convenience implications showing that electric co-ops are “innovating at the pace of value.”

In describing his cooperative’s work on broadband build out, Hudgins described how Old Dominion has worked hard to turn around southern Virginia’s economic decline by effecting hundreds of millions of dollars in fiber-optics in the ground: that every school, community college, training center etc. has a fiber connection. That has helped to attract a Microsoft data center, among other businesses.

Salter said that some municipalities have been able to amortize the cost of fiber build outs through electric system improvements. He noted that utilities’ investment – just to bring electricity to the home – is at $12,500 per home, versus the cost of a fiber build out of up to $2,500 per home. The savings that could be realized through cutting costs for electricity generation would pay for the cost of bringing fiber to ever home, said Salter.

Woolf said that all of these issues and challenges show that we are in the early stages of this smart grid evolution. Although meters have been adopted quickly as a means of reducing response times in the case of outages, to truly capture the value of the smart grid, he said, real-time pricing will be necessary to incentivize consumers to conserve.

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Broadband Breakfast on January 25, 2023 – Section 230, Google, Twitter and the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will soon hear two blockbuster cases asking if tech companies can be held liable for terrorist content on their platforms.

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Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place on Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. Watch the event on Broadband Breakfast, or REGISTER HERE to join the conversation.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023, 12 Noon ET – Section 230, Google, Twitter and the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will soon hear two blockbuster cases involving Section 230 of the Telecommunications Act: Gonzalez v. Google on February 21, and  Twitter v. Taamneh on February 22. Both of these cases ask if tech companies can be held liable for terrorist content on their platforms. Also in play: Laws in Florida and in Texas (both on hold during the course of litigation) that would limit online platforms’ ability to moderate content. In a recent brief, Google argued that denying Section 230 protections for platforms “could have devastating spillover effects.” In advance of Broadband Breakfast’s Big Tech & Speech Summit on March 9, this Broadband Breakfast Live Online event will consider Section 230 and the Supreme Court.

Panelists:

  • Chris Marchese, Counsel, NetChoice
  • Ari Cohn, Free Speech Counsel, TechFreedom
  • Jessica Dheere, Director, Ranking Digital Rights
  • Ali Sternburg, Vice President of Information Policy, Computer & Communications Industry Association
  • Marshall Van Alstyne, Questrom Chair Professor, Boston University
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Panelist resources:

Chris Marchese analyzes technology-related legislative and regulatory issues at both the federal and state level. His portfolio includes monitoring and analyzing proposals to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, antitrust enforcement, and potential barriers to free speech and free enterprise on the internet. Before joining NetChoice in 2019, Chris worked as a law clerk at the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center, where he analyzed legal issues relevant to the business community, including state-court decisions that threatened traditional liability rules.

Ari Cohn is Free Speech Counsel at TechFreedom. A nationally recognized expert in First Amendment law, he was previously the Director of the Individual Rights Defense Program at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), and has worked in private practice at Mayer Brown LLP and as a solo practitioner, and was an attorney with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Ari graduated cum laude from Cornell Law School, and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Jessica Dheere is the director of Ranking Digital Rights, and co-authored RDR’s spring 2020 report “Getting to the Source of Infodemics: It’s the Business Model.” An affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, she is also founder, former executive director, and board member of the Arab digital rights organization SMEX, and in 2019, she launched the CYRILLA Collaborative, which catalogs global digital rights law and case law. She is a graduate of Princeton University and the New School.

Ali Sternburg is Vice President of Information Policy at the Computer & Communications Industry Association, where she focuses on intermediary liability, copyright, and other areas of intellectual property. Ali joined CCIA during law school in 2011, and previously served as Senior Policy Counsel, Policy Counsel, and Legal Fellow. She is also an Inaugural Fellow at the Internet Law & Policy Foundry.

Marshall Van Alstyne (@InfoEcon) is the Questrom Chair Professor at Boston University. His work explores how IT affects firms, innovation, and society with an emphasis on business platforms. He co-authored the international best seller Platform Revolution and his research influence ranks among the top 2% of all scientists globally.

Drew Clark (moderator) is CEO of Breakfast Media LLC. He has led the Broadband Breakfast community since 2008. An early proponent of better broadband, better lives, he initially founded the Broadband Census crowdsourcing campaign for broadband data. As Editor and Publisher, Clark presides over the leading media company advocating for higher-capacity internet everywhere through topical, timely and intelligent coverage. Clark also served as head of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois, a state broadband initiative.

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook.

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

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Broadband Breakfast on February 8, 2023 – The Build America, Buy America Law’s Impact on Infrastructure

Experts have warned that the BABA mandate raises the cost of broadband deployment.

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Photo illustration by Billion Photos/Adobe Stock

Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place on Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. Watch the event on Broadband Breakfast, or REGISTER HERE to join the conversation.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023, 12 Noon ET – The Build America, Buy America Law’s Impact on Infrastructure

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s guidelines for the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program mandate compliance with the Build America, Buy America Act, which favors domestic manufacturing. Many industry experts have warned that this raises prices on goods necessary for broadband deployment, and are urging the NTIA to not only follow through on its proposal to waive the requirement for the Middle Mile grant program but extend that waiver to the BEAD program. Whether or not this happens, what will the Build America, Buy America Act’s impact be on the country’s digital infrastructure? 

This FREE Broadband Breakfast Live Online event will feature insights from the exclusive Broadband Breakfast Club report for the month of February. Access the full report by registering here

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook.

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

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Broadband Breakfast on February 1, 2023 – What Will the 118th Congress Do on Broadband and Big Tech?

Will Congress have anything new to say about infrastructure investment, wireless communication or net neutrality? 

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Graphic courtesy of Digital Trends Media Group

Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place on Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. Watch the event on Broadband Breakfast, or REGISTER HERE to join the conversation.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023, 12 Noon ET – What Will the 118th Congress Do on Broadband and Big Tech?

Hampered by a new partisan divide, what will the 118th Congress be able to accomplish in terms of broadband and technology policy? In particular, what do broadband and technology industry groups see as realistic policy priorities under divided government? Many members of Congress want to sharply curb the power of Big Tech, including through a potential national TikTok ban. Another issue left unresolved from last Congress was the state of information privacy legislation. These developments take place against a backdrop of the largest federal investment in broadband ever. Will Congress have anything new to say about infrastructure investment, wireless communication or network neutrality? 

Panelists:

  • Shirley Bloomfield, CEO, NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association
  • Other panelists have been invited
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Shirley Bloomfield is CEO of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, the premier association representing nearly 850 independent telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. With more than 30 years of experience representing the country’s smallest telecom operators, Bloomfield is an expert on the role of federal communications policies in sustaining the vitality of rural and remote communities and the benefits rural broadband networks bring to millions of American families, businesses and the national economy. Bloomfield has a strong track record of leadership in aligning strategic partnerships among rural telecom companies, their larger counterparts, other rural utilities and federal agencies, advancing digital equity and economic opportunities for rural Americans.

Drew Clark (moderator) is CEO of Breakfast Media LLC. He has led the Broadband Breakfast community since 2008. An early proponent of better broadband, better lives, he initially founded the Broadband Census crowdsourcing campaign for broadband data. As Editor and Publisher, Clark presides over the leading media company advocating for higher-capacity internet everywhere through topical, timely and intelligent coverage. Clark also served as head of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois, a state broadband initiative.

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook.

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

Continue Reading

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