US power company Ameren signs Ericsson to 10-year private networks deal
US power company Ameren has appointed Ericsson on a 10-year deal to provide private LTE and 5G network infrastructure to cover its operations across Missouri and Illinois. The project will consolidate “disparate network solutions” into one cellular network in the 900 MHz spectrum band, the pair said.
A statement said: “This is an affordable, well-propagating frequency that will not only improve operational and financial efficiencies, but enable Ameren to provide enhanced device management, monitoring and predictive analytics of assets, as well as deploy its own people to troubleshoot its telecommunication challenges.”
Which sounds like a self-managed private cellular network, to support sundry IoT cases. The fact the network is private, ring-fenced from public airwaves and central cloud infrastructure, will deliver higher security, as well, said Ericsson. “There will no longer be third-party vendors maintaining the data and information on the network,” it said.
Ericsson is to supply a radio access network (RAN) gear with a dual-mode core network, to support geo-redundancy, in the case of outages. The network, an LTE affair to start, will support “future upgrades” to 5G. The new private network will support Ameren’s smart grid development, including expansion of clean energy resources, it said.
Chris Vana, senior director of engineering and architecture at Ameren, said: “Ameren is modernizing our grid, including deployment of a private network structure that will allow us to better serve customers. This technology will mean improved reliability, faster response time, grid security and lower costs for customers as we combine to a single standard solution.”
Koustuv Ghoshal, vice president and head of utilities, energy and industrials at Ericsson in North America, said: “Utilities are looking to privatize their networks to improve how they monitor, control, optimize, and decarbonize every aspect of their smart grid ecosystem. Private networks [support utilities] in their digital transformation goals and reduction of operational costs, while accelerating decarbonization of the grid and improving connectivity for both the grid assets and workforce.”