New York Hydroelectric Plant Begins Private LTE Wireless Network Pilot
Tuesday, October 27, 2020 | Comments

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) announced that it partnered with Nokia of America through a competitive bidding process to pilot private wireless LTE technology at its Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project in Schoharie County.

Nokia will work with private spectrum providers on the project. NYPA also will be working with AT&T to see if its existing First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) system can provide similar private network benefits.

“The goal of this project is to build a secure, robust and reliable wireless LTE network to enhance our operational and programmatic capabilities and leverage all the benefits of the ever-evolving innovation in wireless technology,” said NYPA President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones. “We believe that this network will advance NYPA along the path to becoming the nation’s first end-to-end digital utility.”

NYPA, the nation’s largest state public power organization, relies heavily on wireless communications to conduct and monitor its operations. The new LTE technology will be piloted at the B-G site and then may be deployed at other NYPA sites, including the 16 generating facilities it operates and the 1,400 circuit miles of transmission lines across the state it owns and operates.

The LTE wireless network pilot program is targeted to complement several critical NYPA initiatives including its robust communications backbone and sensor deployment programs. The $153 million communications backbone program aims to replace NYPA’s existing point-to-point circuits to manage the increased data flow from the deployment of intelligent sensors. Since 2017, NYPA has been working to install state-of-the-art sensor devices to more closely monitor the health of its transmission and generation assets and to further enable the capabilities of its Integrated Smart Operations Center (iSOC).

The LTE wireless network system, once adopted, also will help NYPA be a leader in the following areas:
• Drone technology to safely monitor and inspect NYPA generation and transmission assets
• Workforce mobility applications
• Deep metering services and analytics of customer energy consumption
• Wi-Fi telephony and push-to-talk (PTT) applications
• Secure communications for emergency management and service restoration
• Internet of things (IoT) applications
• Data transport to support NYPA energy efficiency initiatives

The project will test the applications using sub-gigahertz spectrum band 8 (Anterix) and band 71 (Omega Wireless) with Nokia and the FirstNet network (band 14) with AT&T.

In parallel, NYPA will test additional spectrum in band 8 (Anterix), Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band 48, and band 53 (GlobalStar) at its LTE lab in White Plains to support some of the planned uses mentioned above.

Anterix announced its involvement in the pilot last week.

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