pdvWireless, Southern Linc Ally on Private Broadband for Utilities
Thursday, January 17, 2019 | Comments

pdvWireless and Southern Linc partnered to form an alliance of utilities and vendors that will become a hub of information sharing, collaboration and planning to assist the development of private wireless broadband networks owned by and dedicated to utilities.

The alliance will aim to drive scale and innovation for the utility industry by creating a network of utility private broadband networks through centralized initiatives that may include education and training, device testing and certification, vendor equipment testing and network deployment pilots, security, and integration and operational best practices to name a few.

Examples of how private wireless networks can be leveraged include electric operations monitoring and control systems, distributed energy and storage, dynamic customer engagement, and mission critical push-to-talk (MCPTT) and other voice communications, a statement said.

Southern Linc, a regional wireless provider that caters to utilities owned by Southern Co. and other utility and public-safety agencies, is transitioning its iDEN narrowband voice network to Long Term Evolution (LTE) broadband technology.

"Based on our experience, we are convinced that private wireless broadband networks are a strategic and tactical advantage for electric utilities," said Southern Linc President Tami Barron. “As part of the overall U.S. electric industry, we are prepared to share the knowledge gained from the development of our own mission-critical LTE network with other utilities. Utilities have a long history of working together, and collectively, a network of utility broadband networks will provide a powerful benefit to the industry as a whole."

pdvWireless is waiting for the FCC to adopt new rules in the 900 MHz band after the commission released a notice of inquiry (NOI) in 2017 and froze the 900 MHz spectrum last year. pdvWireless and the Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) have asked the FCC to consider possible rule changes for spectrum in the 896 – 901/935 – 940 MHz spectrum, which they said provide an opportunity for critical infrastructure and other business entities to obtain 900 MHz broadband licenses.

"The collaboration between pdvWireless and Southern Linc is an important step in providing a private wireless broadband roadmap to utilities, enabling them to build, own and operate their own networks," said Rob Schwartz, pdvWireless president and chief operating officer (COO). "We look forward to collaborating with utilities across the country, as they build secure, reliable and resilient networks to meet their grid modernization needs."

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