Utility co-op optimises network for smart grid and telco services


Bandera Electric Cooperative has partnered with communications firm Calix to provide its consumers with smart grid and internet services.

The utility built and launched its fiber network in 2017 and is using solutions provided by Calix to optimise services for its customers.

The solutions being provided by Calix include the firm’s AXOS E7-2 Intelligent Modular System and Whole Home Wi-Fi solutions, to ensure optimal connectivity is achieved throughout the fiber network.

Calix’s Support Cloud will be used by the utility cooperative to improve services to the 4,000 residential customers and local schools currently registered to the internet service.

For instance, the GigaCenters and 804Mesh Satellites integrated into the Support Cloud will enable the utility to provide resilient coverage to registered customers, as well as to remotely manage the network, utilise real-time data to reduce service call times and to reduce truck rolls.

Bandera Electric Cooperative is planning to provide internet services to all of its 26,000 members across seven counties in the near future.

The fiber network serves as the foundation for the utility’s smart grid initiative and renewable energy subsidiary BEC Solar, provider of solar and energy storage services.

William Hetherington, CEO and general manager at Bandera Electric Cooperative, said: “We are now in the ‘Information Age,’ and we can see the needs of our members – and our business – evolving. As a member-owned cooperative, BEC is ideally positioned to address those needs.

“On the electric side of the business, we have members interested in our renewable energy alternatives including the solar panels, Tesla power walls and even electric vehicle charging stations.

“This interest is driving growth in our distributed generation and battery storage products, providing additional revenue to BEC Solar and cost savings for all our members. Connecting it all with a robust fiber communications platform is critical to the efficiency and effectiveness of our network services.

“Calix has helped us converge our broadband and Smart Grid services into a single, reliable fiber network that is delivering the best member Wi-Fi experience in our market. Fiber and world-class Wi-Fi connectivity are essential to our success both now and into the future, and we are thrilled to be partnering with Calix to lay this foundation today.”