A Smarter, More Resilient Grid

“We are deploying broadband, we are partnering to deploy broadband and we are trying to bring high-speed Internet to rural America,” said Paul Breakman, Senior Director – Business Technologies Strategies, NRECA. Speaking at Calix ConneXions, Breakman provided an overview of the enormous opportunity NRECA members have to bring broadband to their respective members.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) represents 831 distribution cooperatives, who collectively serve 56% of the U.S. landmass, 20 million businesses, homes, schools and farms, and 42 million people. Many of those people are in areas not well served with broadband from traditional providers.

As not-for-profits, NRECA’s electric cooperative members exist to serve their members, which are their customers as well. In the above interview, Breakman talks about how the advanced communications network that is needed to run their electric backbone is complementary to the fiber-to-the-home networks many electric cooperatives are building to serve business and home Internet needs.

Robust broadband is an important foundation for electric cooperatives to master the transition to a grid that has distributed energy generation and storage. The grid is effectively moving from a one-way to more of a two-way power-flow. A fiber network is needed to enable the signaling that creates the so-called smart grid.

The smart grid enables a different business model that moves beyond electricity delivery to what Breakman calls energy services. He indicates that the coop members are embracing this shift in business and the move into the smart grid through fiber. The fiber backbone is creating not only a smarter grid but one that is more resilient.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: