Omega Wireless, LLC, an independent holder of 600-MHz licenses, recently announced its collaboration with Nokia, a provider of 4.9G and 5G private wireless solutions, to help pilot a program to bring private LTE technology to the New York Power Authority (NYPA), the United States' largest state public power organization.
The pilot project will evaluate the use of Nokia's industrial-grade private LTE wireless network using Omega's Band 71 spectrum at the NYPA's Blenheim Gilboa Power Plant in Schoharie County to support a range of applications, including mobile enablement of the digital utility worker, Voice over LTE, and drone control with video uplink. For example, an LTE-based network would allow the utility to use drones to help manage critical field operations for the NYPA's more than 1400 circuit-miles of transmission lines, which until now have relied upon expensive and time-consuming manned aerial vehicle inspection. The project will also allow the NYPA to evaluate and explore how a wireless backbone could be implemented on a much larger scale across its assets throughout the state and serve its current and future applications, while still providing operational cost savings.
A 600-MHz spectrum is an ideal fit for the network. The spectrum type already supports a large ecosystem of devices and drones for the energy sector. In addition, the NYPA can leverage the spectrum's long reach to minimize its capital outlay and operating costs. The pilot project will show the value of the 600-MHz band and demonstrate the feasibility of Band 71 for potential use by other utilities in the United States.
Private wireless networks are increasingly important for utilities, especially in Industry 4.0 environments with thousands of connected devices, where privacy, data control, and performance are all mission critical. They can support utilities in building a more agile business that keeps pace with shifting demand, accelerates digital transformation, and unlocks new internet of things (IoT) opportunities with reliable and predictable connectivity for people, machines, and sensors.