Friday, September 4, 2009

Broadband Silobreakers: FCC Opens Smart Grid Comment Cycle within National Broadband Plan Process 09/04/09 The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today announced the opening of a public comment period focused on the implementation of Smart Grid technologies.

The comment cycle is part of the Commission's larger effort to frame a National Broadband Plan, pursuant to congressional requirements within the American Recovery and Renewal Act of 2009 (ARRA).

The Notice of Pleading Cycle was released today (download: .PDF). Public Comments are due by October 2, 2009.

We excerpt key elements of today's 5 page Notice:


GN Docket Nos. 09-47, 09-51, 09-137

Comment Date: October 2, 2009

In the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act), Congress directed the Commission, in its development of a National Broadband Plan, to include “a plan for the use of broadband infrastructure and services in advancing . . . energy independence and efficiency.” Smart Grid technology has been identified as a promising way to use broadband and other advanced communications to promote energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and encourage energy independence.

Parties commenting on the National Broadband Plan NOI have described other potential benefits of Smart Grid technology, including the creation of new jobs, increased network performance and reliability, and the advancement of new, environmentally-friendly technologies. Accordingly, we seek tailored comment on how advanced infrastructure and services could help achieve efficient implementation of Smart Grid technology.

1. Suitability of Communications Technologies. Smart Grid applications are being deployed using a variety of public and private communications networks. We seek to better understand which communications networks and technologies are suitable for various Smart Grid applications.

2. Availability of Communications Networks. Electric utilities offer near universal service, including in many geographies where no existing suitable communications networks currently exist (for last-mile, aggregation point data backhaul, and utility control systems). We seek to better understand the availability of existing communications networks, and how this availability may impact Smart Grid deployments.

3. Spectrum. Currently, Smart Grid systems are deployed using a variety of communications
technologies, including public and private wireless networks, using licensed and unlicensed spectrum. We seek to better understand how wireless spectrum is or could be used for Smart Grid applications.

4. Real-time Data. The Smart Grid promises to enable utility companies and their customers to reduce U.S. energy consumption using a variety of technologies and methods. Some of the most promising of these methods use demand response, in which utility companies can directly control loads within the home or business to better manage demand, or give price signals to encourage load shedding. Other methods reduce energy consumption simply by providing consumers access to their consumption information, via in-home displays, web portals, or other methods. Central to all of these techniques is energy consumption and pricing data.

5. Home Area Networks. We seek to understand the ways in which utilities, technology providers and consumers will connect appliances, thermostats, and energy displays to each other, to the electric meter, and to the Internet.

All comments should refer to GN Docket Nos. 09-47, 09-51, and 09-137. Please title comments responsive to this Notice as “Comments—NBP Public Notice #2.” Further, we strongly encourage parties to develop responses to this Notice that adhere to the organization and structure of the questions in this Notice.

Comments may be filed using:

(1) the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS),

(2) the Federal Government’s eRulemaking Portal, or

(3) by filing paper copies. Comments filed through the ECFS can be sent as an electronic file via the Internet to or the Federal eRulemaking Portal: .

Generally, only one copy of an electronic submission must be filed. In completing the transmittal screen, commenters should include their full name, U.S. Postal Service mailing address, and the applicable docket or rulemaking number. Parties may also submit an electronic comment by Internet e-mail. To get filing instructions for e-mail comments, commenters should send an e-mail to, and should include the following words in the body of the message, “get form.” A sample form and directions will be sent in reply. Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and four copies of each filing.

Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail (although we continue to experience delays in receiving U.S. Postal Service mail). All filings must be addressed to the Commission's Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.

• The Commission’s contractor will receive hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission's Secretary at 236 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E., Suite 110, Washington, D.C. 20002. The filing hours at this location are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes must be disposed of before entering the building.

• Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.

• U.S. Postal Service first-class mail, Express Mail, and Priority Mail should be addressed to 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.

People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to or call the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530, (202) 418-0432 (TTY).

For further information about this Public Notice, please contact Randy Clarke at (202) 418-1500.
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