Anterix, Schweitzer Partner on 900 MHz Wildfire Mitigation
Tuesday, January 25, 2022 | Comments

Anterix and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) jointly published a white paper documenting the application of falling conductor protection (FCP) for wildfire mitigation when enabled by a private LTE network using Anterix's low-band 900 MHz spectrum.

Utilities in areas at high risk for wildfires are looking for grid modernization solutions that leverage integrated broadband wireless technology and wildfire mitigation capabilities. Over the last decade, the electrical power system has increasingly been the source of wildfire ignition. Environmental factors such as climate change, increased temperatures, dry air and land, and high winds, combined with the arcs generated by electric power system equipment significantly increase the risk of wildfire.

"Wildfire mitigation capability is one of the most mission-critical applications of 900 MHz private LTE networks I've seen," said Anterix Chief Operating Officer (COO) Ryan Gerbrandt. "By working with Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories to enable falling conductor protection technology, we can help utilities fortify their grid to address real problems potentially affecting millions of Americans."

By deploying FCP technology, utilities can detect a broken conductor and de-energize the affected line segment in less than one second as the line is falling, significantly mitigating the fire hazard associated with an energized conductor arcing on the ground. This ability to detect and de-energize a falling conductor relies on ubiquitous, high-bandwidth, low-latency communications enabled by a low-band LTE network.

"Falling conductor protection depends upon reliable, low-latency broadband communications to de-energize broken distribution power lines as they fall," said Ryan Bradetich, SEL senior vice president of research and development. "Working with Anterix and its 900 MHz spectrum helps ensure a falling conductor is detected before it touches the ground and potentially sparks a wildfire. Previous methods often took several minutes to de-energize the line, meaning they were often too late."

Following a May 2020 FCC report and order enabling broadband deployment in the 900 MHz band, Anterix has been working with utilities to enable the broadband communications infrastructure needed for grid modernization.

The full white paper, "Wildfire Mitigation - Detecting and Isolating for Falling Conductors in Midair – Using 900 MHz Private LTE at Protection Speeds" can be found here.

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