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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 August 17, 2022 – Summer of Broadband: Tennessee

In Tennessee, we’ll see what the Volunteer state is doing to bring a plan together on broadband policy.

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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, August 17, 2022, 12 Noon ET – Summer of Broadband: Tennessee

State broadband offices will play a critical role in the rollout of the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act’s Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program. In the months of July and August, Broadband Breakfast will take the pulse of broadband efforts at the state level in visits to about half-dozen states across the country. On August 17, we will speak with those in the office of the State of Tennessee to learn what those in the Volunteer state are doing in bringing a plan together on broadband policy.

Panelists:

  • Taylre Beaty, Broadband Program Director, Tennessee Department of Community and Economic Affairs
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Panelist resources:

Taylre Beaty started as the State Broadband Director at Tennessee Economic and Community Development in September 2021. Prior to joining TNECD, she worked for USDA Rural Development, most recently as a Policy Advisor for Rural Utilities Service in Washington, D.C. During her time at USDA, she worked on then Secretary Sonny Perdue’s broadband priorities including the American Broadband Initiative, FCC Precision Ag Task Force, and critical broadband infrastructure projects during the COVID-19 pandemic. She earned a master’s in Agricultural Economics from Texas A&M University and a bachelor’s in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She is originally from East Tennessee.

Drew Clark is the Editor and Publisher of BroadbandBreakfast.com and a nationally-respected telecommunications attorney. Drew brings experts and practitioners together to advance the benefits provided by broadband. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, he served as head of a State Broadband Initiative, the Partnership for a Connected Illinois. He is also the President of the Rural Telecommunications Congress.

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 August 3, 2022 – How Yellowstone Fiber is Bringing High-Capacity Broadband to Montana

The non-profit Yellowstone Fiber uses a unique business model in the thriving community of Bozeman, Montana, and the surrounding county.

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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 on Twitter, Facebook. or LinkedIn. No need to register to attend via Zoom: This conversation is pre-recorded.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022, 12 Noon ET – How the Non-profit Yellowstone Fiber is Bringing High-Capacity Broadband in Montana

Join us on Broadband Breakfast, or our on streaming channels on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, for a pre-recorded session discussing Yellowstone Fiber, a non-profit entity offering high-speed symmetrical broadband services to Bozeman, Montana, and the surrounding Gallatin County, Montana.

Panelists:

  • Greg Metzger, CEO, Yellowstone Fiber
  • Kim McKinley, Chief Marketing Officer, UTOPIA Fiber
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Panelist resources:

Kim McKinley helps lead UTOPIA Fiber as its Deputy Director and Chief Marketing Officer. In 2010, she joined the network as a member of its turnaround team, and has helped cement today’s UTOPIA Fiber as the fastest-growing, highest-rated, and most-successful Open Access network in the United States.

Greg Metzger is the CEO of Yellowstone Fiber.

Drew Clark is the Editor and Publisher of BroadbandBreakfast.com and a nationally-respected telecommunications attorney. Drew brings experts and practitioners together to advance the benefits provided by broadband. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, he served as head of a State Broadband Initiative, the Partnership for a Connected Illinois. He is also the President of the Rural Telecommunications Congress.

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 July 27, 2022 – Bringing Broadband to Rural America: A Case Study in Morgan, Utah

Following up on UTOPIA Fiber’s buildout to Morgan City, we’ll look at benefits of broadband for this rural community

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See “Morgan City Fiber Swap Model Catching On,” Broadband Breakfast, July 28, 2022.

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, July 27, 2022, 12 Noon ET – Bringing Broadband to Rural America: A Case Study in Morgan, Utah

Bringing broadband to a rural community like Morgan City, Utah, is never an easy task. But in 2019, Morgan, a community on the least-populated side of the Wasatch Mountains without even a stoplight, found itself on the wrong side of the digital divide. Into the mix stepped UTOPIA Fiber, an open access network in Utah primarily serving the more populous communities on the west side of the Wasatch front. Following up on a Broadband Communities 2019 article telling the story of UTOPIA Fiber’s buildout to Morgan City, this Broadband Breakfast Live session will examine the impact of bringing broadband to this rural community. Join us at 12 Noon ET.

Panelists:

  • Steve Gale, Mayor, Morgan City, Utah
  • Lynne Yocom, Fiber Optics Manager, Utah Department of Transportation
  • Roger Timmerman, Executive Director, UTOPIA Fiber
  • Warren Woodward, Director of Broadband Service, XMission Internet
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Panelist resources:

  • From UTOPIA Fiber: A Model Open Access Network, Broadband Communities, November-December 2019
    • The rural community of Morgan, Utah, is where UTOPIA Fiber’s vision for gradual community-by-community network expansion is most fully realized.A rural community without even a stoplight, Morgan is on the least-populated side of the Wasatch Mountains. It was left in the lurch when Comcast left town and stopped providing service. (CenturyLink’s DSL was unreliable.) But with a municipal power system, Morgan felt comfortable managing lines and poles. The community began exploring options to bring a new broadband provider to town.“The more we researched it, the more comfortable we felt about it,” says Ty Bailey, Morgan city manager. “More than economic development, this is just basic service” that the city needs to offer if no one else will. UTOPIA Fiber’s willingness to bring the open-access model to Morgan became “a really good solution for us.”
    • As with any fiber-to-the-home network, UTOPIA Fiber’s costs are a mixture of one-time infrastructure costs and ongoing costs for backhaul transport, network operation and internet services. People associated with the UTOPIA Fiber network speak of the 30 percent penetration rate as an important threshold for profitability, even in rural communities such as Morgan….
    • “We are thrilled to bring UTOPIA Fiber to our growing community,” said Morgan City’s mayor. “Our residents and businesses have been in dire need of better, faster and more reliable options for internet, and UTOPIA Fiber will be providing the best possible solution for our city.”

Steve Gale began his position as Mayor of Morgan City in January 2022. He attended high school in Morgan and married his high school sweetheart.  He is thrilled that his family has also made their homes in Morgan and are close by. He is very patriotic and loves the “Red, White and Blue.”

As the fiber optics manager for the Utah Department of Transportation, Lynne Yocom manages the he communications to traffic devices such as traffic signals, cameras, variable message signs and anything else that needs connectivity to the system. The system is a closed network of just under a thousand miles of fiber optic cable. She work with telecommunication companies to expand the UDOT network through fiber-optic trades.

Roger Timmerman has been serving as UTOPIA Fiber’s Executive Director since 2016 and has been a technology management professional in telecommunications and information technology for over 15 years. Roger has been designing and building networks throughout his career in various roles including Vice President of Engineering for Vivint Wireless, CTO for UTOPIA Fiber, Network Engineer for iProvo, and Network Product Manager for Brigham Young University. Roger earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Information Technology from Brigham Young University.

Warren Woodward is the Director of Broadband Service at XMission LC, the first Salt Lake City based Internet Service Provider and established in 1993. XMission is recognized as being the largest service provider on the UTOPIA Fiber network, a continually expanding municipal fiber project that spans 19 cities in Utah across the western United States.

Drew Clark is the Editor and Publisher of BroadbandBreakfast.com and a nationally-respected telecommunications attorney. Drew brings experts and practitioners together to advance the benefits provided by broadband. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, he served as head of a State Broadband Initiative, the Partnership for a Connected Illinois. He is also the President of the Rural Telecommunications Congress.

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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