HomeConnectivityRegional power utility Xcel Energy signs with Anterix for private LTE in eight US states

Regional power utility Xcel Energy signs with Anterix for private LTE in eight US states

Regional US electric utility Xcel Energy has signed a deal with Anterix to lease its 900 MHz spectrum for private LTE across its service area in eight western and midwestern states. The deal is another sign of momentum for Anterix, which has signed a number of licensing agreements with local US power utilities. Evergy and Delmarva Power and Light have both announced projects using Anterix’s 900 MHz holding of late.

Minnesota-headquartered Xcel Energy Services, a subsidiary of Xcel Energy, signed a 20-year licence with Anterix to deploy private LTE to support its grid modernization initiatives, said Anterix. Xcel Energy has around 3.7 million electricity customers and 2.1 million natural gas customers in Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The deal stipulates two optional 10-year extensions.

It has a stated plan to deliver 100 percent clean, carbon-free electricity by 2050, with an 80 percent carbon reduction by 2035 (from 2005 levels). It was part of a “high impact” investigation with six other utilities into LTE on 900 MHz spectrum in 2019, which set out to “validated the performance of 900 MHz LTE in utility use cases”. It started limited deployment of the 900 MHz private LTE at two Minneapolis sites a couple of years ago.

It is a member of the Utility Broadband Alliance, which “aims to assist [with] planning, designing, and deploying… private broadband to support America’s critical infrastructure.” As part of the agreement, Xcel Energy has also committed to join Anterix’s advisory board for utility transformation. A statement said: “Xcel Energy will play a lead role in promoting and sharing experiences on its evaluation and trials of the Anterix integrated platform.”

Rob Schwartz, president and chief executive at Anterix, said: “Xcel Energy is now the fourth major IOU to take that initial step toward joining the 900 MHz private broadband movement. Momentum continues to build, and as additional utilities follow suit, the opportunities for collaboration and scale will grow as well. As a member of the Utility Strategic Advisory Board, Xcel Energy will join forces with many other organizations that are committed to the idea of adoption of private broadband and the solutions it can provide industry wide.”

Tim Peterson, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Xcel Energy, said: “Xcel Energy is focused on delivering reliable, affordable and sustainable energy to the states, the communities and the customers we serve. Our commitment to a clean energy future requires a modern grid capable of integrating a significant influx of distributed, renewable energy resources. Secure, robust broadband communications is a critical element of the modern grid.”

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