Oklahoma Gas & Electric smart grid readies communications network

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Oklahoma Gas & Electric is to build out a fibre network to upgrade the resiliency and capacity of its communications backbone.

Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OG&E) will build out approximately 550km of new fibre in partnership with the local service provider Dobson Fiber. This will supplement almost 1,000km of Dobson’s existing network to connect key infrastructure.

The initiative forms part of the company’s Oklahoma Grid Enhancement plan and is aimed to accommodate new smart grid automation, monitoring and operational technologies as well as provide a stable foundation for the wireless communications network.

It also will see OG&E’s network bandwidth upgraded from 150Mb/s to 10Gb/s.

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Network security and resiliency will be enhanced, and network reliability and uptime will be increased by adding redundancy using fibre, microwave and links to carrier networks.

Moreover, it mitigates the risk of wireless interference as the national Federal Communications Commission regulations evolve.

“This exciting initiative is representative of our overall approach to grid enhancement, which is to find the best means of improvement for the greatest value for our customers,” says OGE Energy Chairman, President and CEO Sean Trauschke.

“Working with Dobson Fiber enables us to leverage their extensive expertise to future-proof our communications network while saving more than 60% over standard deployment costs.”

Dobson Fiber will go on to manage the fibre assets and transport network.

OG&E is a subsidiary of Oklahoma City-based OGE Energy Corp, serving approximately 865,000 electricity customers in Oklahoma and western Arkansas.

The Oklahoma Grid Enhancement plan was launched in late 2020 focussed on building automation and resiliency into the grid to create a self-healing grid. It will see an investment of $810 million, with customer benefits estimated at over $1.9 billion over 30 years.