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Xcel touts customer perks as it deploys private LTE network

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DW Keefer's picture
Journalist Independent Journalist and Analyst

DW Keefer is a Denver-based energy journalist who writes extensively for national and international publications on all forms of electric power generation, utility regulation, business models...

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  • Jan 13, 2021

Xcel Energy said it will use a new wireless telecommunications tool to help respond more quickly to local electric outages and support advanced grid smart meters that will provide more information to customers about their energy use.

The 900 MHz private wireless broadband network will be installed at two existing Xcel Energy sites in Minneapolis. 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.

The network will be developed by Motorola Solutions using Anterix's 900 MHz spectrum.

Tim Peterson, Xcel CIO and senior vice president, said the 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."

The availability of wireless broadband spectrum in the 900 MHz band resulting from the FCC's recent actions now allows critical infrastructure providers to deploy private networks that enable secure and resilient electric grids. Motorola’s LTE 900 MHz infrastructure, along with its Citizens Broadband Radio Service-based Nitro network, are expected to enhance the exchange of voice and data across private LTE broadband and existing LMR networks.

A future roll-out 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.



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