T&D World Magazine

FirstEnergy Switches from Land Mobile Radio to Sprint's Direct Connect

Sprint Nextel is delivering fully integrated digital wireless communications solutions to FirstEnergy Corp., a diversified energy company headquartered in Akron, Ohio. Under this new contract, FirstEnergy will use Sprint voice services, including Nextel Direct Connect, as it moves from its current private radio network to the Nextel National Network. With the new system, FirstEnergy personnel will be able to carry just one device for all voice and data communications rather than separate pagers, cell phones and radios. These solutions also have the potential to allow FirstEnergy to address its field force wireless enablement needs and remote automation of fixed assets including advanced metering and telemetry.

Utilities across the country are exploring new ways of using technology to manage their critical communication infrastructures and provide field crews with updated information. In addition to streamlining operations and improving efficiencies, utility companies are implementing mobile technologies to help create a safer work environment—especially during emergency situations.

“For our energy delivery operations, Sprint Nextel meets our wireless needs by providing utility-grade communications in a cost-effective manner,” says Charles E. Jones, senior vice president, energy delivery and customer service, for FirstEnergy. “The functionality of Nextel Direct Connect will help us facilitate instant communications between our employees across our Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey service areas.”

The Nextel National Network was selected for primary voice and dispatch service across six FirstEnergy service territories because it was more cost-effective to use the direct connect service rather than update the company’s multiple land mobile radio systems. Along with outdoor coverage for the FirstEnergy service territories, the Sprint Custom Network Solutions (CNS) team also will provide in-building solutions bringing additional network coverage for numerous company facilities, including dispatch sites, data centers and offices.

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