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Busy TechConnect Agenda Features Compelling Broadband, Smart Grid Sessions

Randy Sukow / Jul 29, 2021

NRTC members planning the trip to NRTC's TechConnect this fall should be sure to take a close look at the program agenda before arriving in Florida. A loaded agenda in the broadband and smart grid breakout sessions will require a planning calendar and a sharp pencil to catch all the highlights. NRTC is planning a full day of sessions covering both topics on Oct. 26.

Speakers at both sessions will intersperse NRTC’s leading voices with outside experts in their fields along with cooperative managers and technicians with experience deploying the latest technologies. While fiber dominates broadband network planning, fast wireline and wireless communications technologies is at the heart of smart grid advancements, from demand response to renewable energy systems. Be sure to return to the agenda pages often for speaker updates.

The Broadband Solutions breakout session will begin with a review of new federal funding programs for network construction. Since December 2020, Congress has enacted billions in support, and more is expected. Many of those winning federal and state support have been rural providers involved in various types of partnerships, with each other, with non-profit third parties or government entities. The follow-up session will cover partnerships from all angles.

A rural provider in the broadband planning stages faces feasibility studies, supply chain issues, operational readiness, and finding ways to monetize the network along the way to service launch. The TechConnect agenda discusses all parts of the process.

The “Smart Grid Executive Conversation” will break a little news by introducing a report NRTC is compiling this summer in partnership with CFC. The report will provide insights into rural electric cooperatives’ experiences with the many forms of smart grid technology. Representatives from both NRTC and CFC will present the findings together.

Fresh off a TechConnect opening session presentation about wireless advancements in rural America, Joe Walsh, NRTC’s VP, Smart Grid Advisory and Networks will continue the discussion in the breakout session, with presentations on private LTE technology and NRTC’s heightened focus on Technology Planning. A theme throughout the day will be the extent that software and wireless/fiber communications improves centralized control of multiple smart grid technologies.

John Sturm, CEO of Johnson County REMC in Indiana has confirmed plans to speak to the TechConnect audience about his cooperative’s experience with electric vehicles and charging technology. The agenda also includes the latest developments in solar and storage technologies.

TechConnect 2021 will be at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, Oct. 25-27. The stay will offer other diversions, including golf, deep sea fishing, kayaking and other activities. Registration is now open for NRTC members.

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