NCI to sponsor workshop focused on role of investor owned utilities

New College Institute (NCI) is sponsoring a workshop with the Utilities Technology Council (UTC) to explore ways the country can meet demands from communities for 5G and broadband. The workshop, to be held the week of November 9, will feature industry leaders and key policymakers covering a wide range of 5G and broadband topics and the steps necessary to bring broadband into rural and other unserved areas.

Leading the discussion will be a panel of investor owned utilities already involved in one way or another in the provision of broadband services including representatives from American Electric Power, Dominion Energy, and Southern California Edison. Later, in a session moderated by a representative of Oncor, participants also will hear from Southern Company on how investor owned utilities can enable more 5G deployment.

Karen Jackson, NCI’s interim director, will moderate a panel of public and private representatives from the broadband provider community, Office of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, and West Virginia’s Broadband Office. Together they will explore how best to engage with investor owned electric utilities to create effective partnerships to serve more residents.

“Today’s reality invites and, dare I say, demands that we rethink economic development strategies and concentrate efforts to bring economic revitalization for residents in communities of all sizes and locations,” said Jackson. “I jumped at the chance to be part of conversation to explore new collaborations and partnerships, and a willingness to look beyond traditional incentives.”

Additional panels during the UTC Workshop will cover topics including how to secure and maintain the infrastructure necessary to safely and securely deliver electricity to all communities, and will explore innovative ways to offset the high cost of bringing broadband to rural and other under-served or unserved areas. Speakers and panelists will discuss various models offering win-win scenarios that can balance the needs of utilities, communities, and wireless providers.

“UTC’s mission is to drive innovation, foster collaboration, and influence public policy with the goal of delivering secure, reliable and affordable services,” said Sheryl Ovie Riggs, president and CEO, Utilities Technology Council. “Utilities empower broadband deployment and we look forward to what will be a tremendous conference on these issues. We thank NCI for their support in making these important sessions possible.”

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