EUTC to Work with TCCA as Utilities Look to Leverage Critical Broadband Networks

Source: The Critical Communications Review | Gert Jan Wolf editor

The two organisations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enable information sharing around the ongoing development of critical mobile broadband.

The European Utilities Telecom Council (EUTC) and TCCA, the global representative body for the global critical communications ecosystem, have formalised their cooperation in the interests of advancing critical communications. The two organisations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enable information sharing around the ongoing development of critical mobile broadband.

EUTC is a trade association representing electric, gas and water utilities and other critical infrastructure providers on their information and technology needs. EUTC advocates on major industry issues such as cybersecurity, radio spectrum access, fibre optic cable siting and leasing.

With technology rapidly changing the role of telecommunications networks in Europe’s utility and other critical infrastructure companies, EUTC brings experts together from across Europe, enabling them to share knowledge and stay up to date with key industry and technology advances. The EUTC also works in partnership with EU institutions that actively seek its opinions on important issues such as spectrum allocation and development of the future energy grid.

Utilities already use a wide variety of connectivity types including copper, fibre and narrowband radio. However, none of these will readily scale to support the increase in connectivity that smart grids demand. As a result, almost all utilities globally are looking to implement large scale private wide area wireless networks as a significant foundation for their future smart grids in the medium voltage and low voltage layers.

“The evolution of robust, cost effective energy smart grids is imperative to facilitate the most efficient use of renewable energy sources in our collective attempts to minimise the environmental impact of energy use in domestic, industrial and transportation sectors. We must reduce carbon emissions very significantly in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change. However, this increased use of renewable energy must not impact the reliability of our energy grids – and for that to work out we need massively increased visibility and control or a very widely distributed asset base where currently no meaningful connectivity exists,” said Julian Stafford, EUTC Technical Director.

“This secure communications fabric can ideally be supported by network technology based on the standards generated as part of the LTE release of definitions, built and operated in a tightly controlled manner. The demands of the utility sector in development of these solutions have substantial areas of overlap with the work which is being carried out by TCCA and other stakeholders, driven by the needs of public safety users. The MoU with TCCA will allow sharing of valuable technical expertise regarding the deployment of mission critical broadband wireless systems and will provide mutual benefits for members of both communities. The MoU also recognises the intrinsic link between the availability of electricity, water and gas and public safety.”

“It is essential that critical national infrastructure networks have access to the best available technology and security features to ensure seamless operations,” said Tony Gray, TCCA Chief Executive. “With this MoU in place we can learn more about the specific needs of these users as critical broadband services develop, and share our members’ expertise with EUTC to enable a wider knowledge base and a stronger ecosystem.”