Washington — The Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) today released a landmark study,
“Utility Communications Needs: Key Factors That Impact Utility Communications Networks,”
that articulates for the first time in a comprehensive manner the key requirements that utilities
and communications service providers must meet in order to provide the reliable, robust, secure
and ubiquitous communications that utilities require in order to build smart energy grids that
enhance our nation’s energy efficiency, independence and sustainability and emergency response
communications systems that ensure the rapid restoration of America’s critical infrastructure in
emergencies. The UTC study was sponsored by Verizon.
“Energy and water companies need a range of advanced technologies to navigate the
communications challenges we face in building 21st century intelligent networks and emergency
response systems,” said William R. Moroney, UTC President and Chief Executive Officer.
“Bottom line: utilities cannot build all the communications networks they need, and best of breed
communications service providers will be essential to their success. We believe this report will
help both utilities and their technology partners to more rapidly understand where each utility
needs its own networks and where partnership will enhance their operations.”
Based on extensive research with UTC’s energy and water utility members and a wide
range of factors that shape how utilities will adopt advanced communications technologies into
smart grids, the study delves into the crucial technical factors that both utilities and their
technology partners must take into account to deliver critical utility communication services.
These factors are often extreme high reliability, higher bandwidth, very low latency, ubiquitous
coverage, tight security and uninterrupted power supplies.
The study further concludes that communications service providers will have expanded
opportunities in the utility communications marketplace if they meet the technical requirements
for these key factors in a cost-effective manner.
Specifically, the study’s top findings are:
• Reliability is the number-one criteria for utility communications networks. Whether
in networks built, owned and managed by utilities or in communications services
purchased or leased from external providers, reliability was the most important technical
• The advent of the smart grid, which has spurred a number of efforts to standardize
industry technologies and protocols, promises to create a more uniform set of
architectures, configurations and applications for utilities in the future. As unifying
efforts get underway, the utility industry could create a more uniform base for the more
rapid deployment of advanced two-way communications technology.
• The scope, structure and technologies of utility communications vary widely from
utility to utility. Because of the long-evolved legacy communications architectures
across the nation’s utilities, no single approach to utility communications is practical in
• Under current and future technology scenarios, certain key technical factors are
mandatory for safe, reliable and secure utility operations. Among these factors are
extreme high reliability, higher bandwidth, very low latency, ubiquitous coverage, tight
security and uninterrupted power supplies
• Communications service providers face increased opportunities in utility
communications but must meet utilities’ key reliability, technical and cost
requirements. Utilities already rely on external telecom providers throughout their
communications networks and will likely turn to more outside telecom partners for
support as two-way technologies take hold and as industry standardization occurs. But
communications service providers must meet the industry’s key technical requirements,
particularly when it comes to core and operations networks where any failure can
destabilize or shut-down the utility’s functions.
“This study provides an important blueprint for the utility and communications industries
to work together, while reinforcing that reliability and security will be two key components to
successful smart grid evolution, said. Rilck Noel, vice president and global managing director of
Verizon Business’ global energy and utility practice. “Verizon’s experience designing, building
and managing some of the world’s most innovative communications and IT solutions for
government agencies and businesses across the globe make it ideally suited to address the
evolving requirements of utilities and deliver end-to-end smart grid solutions.”
The study, which features extensive results from a survey of UTC utility members, is
available immediately to UTC utility members at no cost. Associate members and non-members
can purchase the study at http://www.utc.org/utc/utility-communications-needs-2010.
Utilities Telecom Council
The Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) is a global, full-service trade association dedicated to creating a
favorable business, regulatory, and technological environment for entities that own, manage, or provide critical telecommunications systems in support of core services. Founded in 1948, UTC has evolved into a dynamic organization that represents the broad communications interests of electric, gas, and water utilities; natural gas pipelines; other critical infrastructure entities and other industry stakeholders. Visit www.utc.org for more information on UTC and its services. UTC Research creates a variety of research products to provide the utility industry with the tools utilities need to make smart decisions. UTC Research also conducts consulting projects. These projects are done on a contract basis for the purpose of answering specific business questions associated with internal utility telecom operations and telecommunications businesses. For more information, contact Cynthia Brumfield, Director of Research,
202.833.6828 or Cynthia.Brumfield@utc.org or Kristy Weinshel, Director of Member Services,
202.833.6815 or Kristy.Weinshel@UTC.org.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in
delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America’s most reliable wireless network, serving more than 92 million customers nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America’s most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world. A Dow 30 company, Verizon last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.