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NRTC Speakers Offer Network Planning Ideas Through the South

Randy Sukow / Jul 22, 2021

With threat of the virus fading further, statewide associations are holding more in-person meetings. NRTC experts have been pleased to attend and share the fast-paced flow of new information about the smart grid, broadband networks and wireless technologies. They were among the featured speakers at two recent southern regional gatherings.

Greg Santoro, NRTC senior VP and Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer (pictured right), covered a wide range of topics at the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives’ (AREA) Summer Conference on July 13 in Orange Beach, AL.

Not everything is broadband, Santoro said. He covered the narrowband communications alternatives that will fit certain utility internet of things (IoT) applications. He discussed how wireless technologies, including private LTE, will fit into some cooperatives’ plans. At the same time, broadband and fiber optic network construction remain at the top of many electric cooperatives’ priority lists. He offered tips for cooperatives trying to navigate their ways through the many issues that surround, broadband, narrowband, wireless and fiber network planning within a single rural organization.

Earlier this summer, NRTC was the host for a “Georgia Broadband Summit” at the GTC Electric Cooperative Training Center in Smarr, GA. The five-hour conference covered technology, business planning and network funding among a wide range of topics.

Aaron Bennett, NRTC VP, Broadband Development (below, left) delved into the ways that broadband network planning may fit into planning for smart grid, advanced metering and other utility infrastructure construction. He also discussed how building a fiber broadband network can enhance a cooperative’s ability to take advantage of 5G and other wireless technologies.

Bailey White of NRTC’s CrowdFiber described the software tools that make fiber planning fiber network construction and broadband operations efficient for rural providers.