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GMP, CVPS and VTel reach smart grid-broadband operating agreement
Thursday, 21 July 2011 10:47

 

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Written by Susan Allen,  Contact Number: 802-828-3333

ESSEX JUNCTION – Several key players in Vermont's electric and telecommunications industries appeared with Gov. Peter Shumlin today to announce the finalization of a collaborative agreement to give Vermont more control over energy consumption, expand access to broadband and telecommunications services, and boost job creation and economic development.

The agreement between Green Mountain Power, Central Vermont Public Service Corp., and Vermont Telephone Company (VTel) is critical to Gov. Shumlin's call to reduce our dependence on oil and fossil fuels and simultaneously provide high-speed internet access statewide by the end of 2013.

"What we are celebrating today is the operating agreement that supports the 'marriage' of smart grid and our telecommunications infrastructure. Smart grid is a national and Vermont priority," Gov. Shumlin said. Green Mountain Power, CVPS and their 17 partners will install about 250,000 advanced meters over the next two years and those smart meters will transmit their information to and from homes via the wireless open world broadband network that is being built by VTel. This project will provide the critical backbone to transmit information.

"Early on, I spoke of a 'wireless canopy' across Vermont," the Governor said. "This is but one application that will rely on that canopy."

Under the agreement, the parties have essentially agreed to share use of VTel-owned and operated technology to expand the smart grid efforts designed to provide energy information to companies and homeowners, as well as deliver high-speed broadband service across the state. The Vtel Wireless Open World (WOW) project, funded by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service, is currently in permitting phase with completion targeted for early 2013, in sync with the activation of the smart grid.

"Today's agreement is a major milestone in our efforts through 2013, and a groundbreaking move for smart grid installations across the nation. GMP and CVPS are the first two utilities in the country to rely on a commercial, 4G LTE communications network. The operating agreement will provide the security and data prioritization attributes necessary to operate SG across a public network. This development is directly aligned with the goals of the FCC's national Broadband Plan as it looks to integrate commercial broadband communications networks into smart grid applications," said Karen Marshall, chief of Connect VT.

"The partnership between VTel, GMP and CVPS is an important step in fulfilling Vermont's dual objective of universal broadband coverage and smart grid communications," said Mary Powell, CEO of Green Mountain Power. "The collaboration among our companies will create a platform for energy innovation and economic development of Vermont going forward."

"The real promise of smart grid for Vermonters is to reduce peak demand on our electrical distribution system by giving consumers the information they need to change electric use patterns; integrating clean renewable power generation, and eventually supporting the adoption of electric vehicles. Realizing that promise requires two way communications and this agreement supports that," said Gov. Shumlin.

"VTel's service will reach many un-served and under-served areas of Vermont, which is critical for connecting our state to the modern economy," said Michel Guite, owner of VTel. "Plus, this connectivity will enable a more robust smart grid, enabling even larger impacts on energy efficiency."

And by combining GMP and CVPS's smart grid funding with VTel's Rural Broadband funding, the LTE broadband network being developed by VTel will cover more of Vermont's geography.

"The original VTel network was designed to support unserved and underserved Vermonters with best-in-class broadband access, and this agreement will help extend that network to more people faster," said Joan Gamble, vice president for strategic change and business services at Central Vermont Public Service. "This unique partnership between telecommunications and electric utilities will benefit all of our customers, and is a model for business collaboration that reinforces the fact that Vermont is open for business."

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 July 2011 15:42