Anterix Begins Initial Deployment with Xcel, Motorola to Provide Network
Wednesday, January 13, 2021 | Comments

Anterix announced that it has begun an initial deployment of 900 MHz spectrum with Xcel Energy for a private LTE network. Motorola Solutions will provide the network at two existing Xcel sites in Minneapolis.

"Xcel Energy is supporting our customers by introducing new technology that will enable several improvements,” said Tim Peterson, chief information officer and senior vice president, Xcel Energy. “The addition of tools in the future will give our customers greater insight into their energy use, help us respond more quickly to local power outages, and provide enhanced communication technology to support our field operations. This new telecommunications technology will provide a basis for new solutions, which can improve grid operations, enhance system security and ultimately deliver a better experience for our customers."

In addition to helping launch advanced grid efforts, the network will allow Xcel Energy to provide cyber protection to critical infrastructure and could eventually be expanded to support automated technology throughout metro and remote rural locations.

Xcel Energy will test out the 900 MHz private LTE network at its two sites and will then will decide if it wants to sign a contract with Anterix for more 900 MHz spectrum following that pilot phase. 

In December, Anterix signed a contract with Ameren to provide 900 MHz spectrum for a private LTE network. Anterix is the largest holder of 900 MHz spectrum and pushed the FCC for many years to realign the band. 

"At Anterix, our goal is to deliver transformative broadband that enables the modernization of critical infrastructure for the utility sector,” said Anterix President and CEO Rob Schwartz. “We are excited to work with Xcel Energy as they continue their long-standing commitment to leverage advanced technology to enable better service to their customers. In partnership with Motorola Solutions, we plan to demonstrate the efficiency, resiliency and security provided by private LTE and validate how private LTE can not only support modernization of the grid and operations for Xcel Energy customers in Minneapolis, but also pioneer the future of broadband communications for the entire utility industry."

Motorola Solutions' LXN 7900 fixed LTE 900 MHz infrastructure, in combination with its Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS)-based Nitro network, will enable the seamless exchange of voice and data across private LTE broadband and existing LMR networks. A future rollout of a broader private LTE deployment could be accelerated by leveraging Xcel Energy's existing investments in LMR site locations and infrastructure to support existing and new grid-of-the-future applications.

"We look forward to working with Xcel Energy as they catalogue the benefits of private broadband for voice, data and IoT communications," said Scott Schoepel, vice president, global enterprise, Motorola Solutions. "As utility operations become increasingly complex and the electrical grid ever more automated, private broadband will support the necessary data speeds, capacity and security, as well as the technology and analytics, needed to support modern and resilient utility infrastructure."

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