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Smart Grid

USTelecom stands by the FCC’s assessment of broadband’s critical role in Smart Grid’s success, stating, “broadband is essential to realizing the full potential of smart homes and buildings.”

Status

Smart Grid technology adds intelligence to the electricity network, producing the potential for revolutionary changes in power transmission, distribution, and even generation. The FCC’s National Broadband Plan discusses broadband integration into the Smart Grid at length.

Background

Smart Grid represents a dramatic change to the landscape of electric transmission and distribution technology, which has not fundamentally changed in more than a century. Smart Grid technology can minimize energy transmission losses, improve the efficiency of the electricity grid, increase the efficiency of power delivery, improve maintenance and reliability, and provide the consumer with more control over the price and type of energy they use.

After extensive inquiry, the FCC found the Smart Grid to be a promising new way to use broadband to promote energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and encourage energy independence. Companies (carriers included) would be wise to partner with electric companies and modernize their own facilities to take advantage of the potential energy consumption efficiencies Smart Grid offers.

USTelecom Position

USTelecom is thrilled at the significant opportunities Smart Grid technology presents to the telecom industry and its consumers. We will continue to actively promote this issue through our participation in policy venues at the federal and state level and in collaboration with our members through the USTelecom Smart Grid Working Group. We also will continue to hold discussions with key state regulators and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) to reform policies that discourage investment in Smart Grid technology.

New job creation, increased network performance and reliability, and the advancement of new, environmentally friendly technologies are some of the other benefits Smart Grid technology offers. As always, we seek to educate our members on how best to take advantage of these benefits through targeted webinars, online resources, and more.

Carrier Impact

Current policy initiatives involve the development of interoperability, cybersecurity, privacy and third-party access standards.  There are also efforts underway to  educate stakeholders on the reliability and resiliency of commercial broadband communications networks and the cost-effective attributes of using member facilities and services.

Rural Local Exchange Carriers (RLEC) can also benefit from Smart Grid adoption, as providing these services could be a substantial new source of revenue in the near future.  RLECs interested in taking advantage of the opportunities Smart Grid offers should consider initiating discussions about participating in Smart Grid deployments.