It was a busy few days in Overland Park, Kansas, with a lot of industry experts getting together to talk telecommunications for UTC Region 6. One them I heard over and over was how everyone appreciated the efforts to bring UTC members and vendors closer together to develop solutions to some of the infrastructure challenges ahead. None echoed this as strongly as Paul Mumm. He’s the wireless foreman at Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L), with more than 40 years of utility communications experience.
Paul was quick to share how KCP&L is applying the concepts presenters shared during their presentations. When I asked him what he liked about KCP&L, he was quick to say they keep the lights on, provide a safe working environment and, of course, pay the bills. He also noted the upcoming retirement of Rick Speck, KCP&L’s telecom supervisor. Paul pointed out that Rick makes working at KCP&L fun, and is a continuous source of never ending entertainment!
Prior to the formal presentations, all attendees were given the opportunity to discuss what keeps critical infrastructure professionals up at night. Once we got though the responses like tacos and spicy dinners, the topics that were brought up included:
- The aging workforce. As baby boomers retire, a lot of historical and legacy technology expertise is being lost to the industry
- Rapid adoption of new technology requires new training and processes
- Regulatory compliance. Are funds being expended properly for cost-effective solutions, or are there options not being considered?
Then we moved into the formal presentations. Since there were so many good discussions, I’ll focus here on one from Brett Kilbourne, UTC’s vice president for Government and Industry Affairs and deputy general counsel. Then I’ll post a follow-up later this week with summaries of some of the other presentations.
Brett provided a UTC legal and regulatory spectrum update covering issues related to existing and future spectrum. In his presentation, he reviewed the Pacific DataVision and its potential spectrum offering to utilities, along with the proposed plan to transition the PDV 900MHZ spectrum from LMR to LTE. This review included the proposed relocation of existing users in urban markets where DataVision holds spectrum. Brett concluded with an overview of the Spectrum Access spectrum offering to utilities.
The spectrum and regulatory topics Brett covers during his updates are extremely critical, not only to utilities but to the entire critical infrastructure industry. But at the end of the day spectrum and bandwidth requirements are universal needs for utilities in the regions they serve.
In the concluding update from UTC 6, I’ll summarize presentations from John McClain from the Department of Homeland Security, John Vislosky, senior vice president of Access Spectrum and several others. One of particular interest will be a CIP Version 5 review based on real world examples of threats and attacks.