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Holiday Move   12/8/18 This is a very busy time for all of us here at UTC – budgeting for 2019, developing our 2019 work plan to implement the first year of our new strategic plan, having our annual staff retreat, having our holiday party, going to other organizations’ holiday parties, planning for our spring set of meetings, focusing on two key advocacy efforts – 6 GHz and resilience/storm restoration issues, and   moving offices!   Yes, we’re moving from our D.C. office to an office in Crystal City (Arlington), Virginia. The new location is right next to Reagan ...
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Accountability   11/14/18 I am traveling this week – first to Orlando for the NASUCA (National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates) and NARUC (National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners) meetings then to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, for UTC’s Industrial Internet of Things Workshop.  We’ve worked with the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) to dovetail our workshop with one of their meetings and look forward to this opportunity to work more closely with them. I do not look forward to the 60-degree temperature fluctuation from Orlando to Ottawa, but I’ll be inside ...
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Things That Make You Go Hmmm…   11/2/18 As I have been reading about the race to 5G and the push by the telecom carriers to access utility and other poles as expeditiously as possible to win the global race — all supposedly for the greater good of the country while providing broadband to rural America and winning the “Infinity War” of all things that could ever relate to technology, I thought to myself…hmmm.  And then I remembered the song, “ Things That Make You Go….Hmmm”   by C+C Music Factory, released in 1991.  Apparently, this song was an homage to a skit from the Arsenio Hall ...
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Connection   10/15/18 In the last couple of weeks, I’ve gone from spending a few days in the heartland of the country (Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where UTC’s Region 5 meeting was held) to being back in D.C. testifying before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Two very different, seemingly disconnected, locations. But the Region 5 meeting couldn’t have been better preparation – and a literal and figurative shot in the arm (more on that in a bit) – for my testimony the following week. Region 5, which includes the Dakotas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and with the expansion ...
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Let It Go

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Let It Go   I’m writing this blog on a plane to Malmö, Sweden, for the European UTC’s ( EUTC ) conference. It’s the first time I’ve been to a Scandinavian country and, I am ashamed to admit, had not realized that Malmö was so close to Copenhagen, Denmark. It’s a mere 20-30-minute train or cab ride from a hub airport/huge city in one country to another in an entirely different country. While we have a couple of examples of cities very near our northern and southern borders in the U.S., I don’t think we can claim this type of geographical closeness in terms of getting from ...
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Dedication

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9/14 /18   As I have watched the news accounts about Hurricane Florence moving into the Southeastern coastline this week, along with the alerts from our government partners (DOE, DHS) and electric sector colleagues (EEI, APPA, NRECA, and others involved in the Electric Subsector Coordinating Council), I have been reminded of the crucial nature of electricity and the high levels of dedication required of all utility personnel.     By multiple accounts, at least 40,000 utility workers have been mobilized to help the Carolinas and Georgia in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.  These workers may be away from their families for ...
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Leadership

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Leadership   8/31/18 This week, we have all heard many things about the life of Senator John McCain and why the entire nation is mourning is death. I have a personal reason to do so – my stepfather, Captain Gerald (Jerry) Coffee, USN (Ret.) was a POW with him in Vietnam, and actually shared a cell with Senator McCain for part of that time. My father, Colonel John Ditto, USMC (Dec.), also was a contemporary of Senator McCain and they knew each other early on in their careers. When I came to Washington, D.C., in 1993 just after graduation from college and essentially jobless (although ...
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Take Me Out to the Ballgame   8/16/18 It is summertime, and while for some, summertime means basking in the sun at the beach or baking in the sun at swim meets, or, in the case of D.C. this year, getting rained on but still being hot, for others it means baseball…and more baseball. We have a couple of people on staff who-must-not-be-named, but what the heck, I’ll name them anyway – Sharla Artz and Rob Thormeyer – who are obsessed with baseball, and particularly with the Washington Nationals. Having lived in the D.C. area for about 25 years, I vividly remember many ...
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Education   7/27/18 Education UTC just completed a busy week with our Board of Directors here in Washington, D.C. Fondly termed “Board Week,” but not to be confused with “Shark Week” (#oneofmyfavoriteweeksoftheyearbutmykidscannothandlewatchinggreatwhitesharkseatsealssocanonlywatchatnight), we engaged in strategic planning and an advocacy day on Capitol Hill, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). We also hosted a reception on Capitol Hill where we had participation from many of our fellow trade association colleagues. ...
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Start your week with an important read! UTC President & CEO Joy Ditto's new blog post delves into the need for balanced policy when it comes to pole attachments! Let Them Eat Cake and Have It, Too!   7/19/18 Such is the tagline of the telecom carriers when referencing pole attachments. The rates, terms and conditions that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC, the Commission) has set for pole attachments for investor-owned electric utilities have become so skewed in favor of the attachers rather than the pole owners (now, primarily said electric utilities) that electric ratepayers are on the verge of paying all the costs of the attachments ...
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7-12-18   For those of you who are regular readers of this blog, you may be shocked at what I am about to say: Thank you to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC, the Commission) for moving forward on its proceeding to make more efficient use of the 4.9 GHz spectrum band. For those who may be reading this blog for the first time, the FCC is often at odds with utilities' critical communications needs, particularly related to its spectrum policy, and therefore, my views of many of the FCC’s actions are, shall we say, lacking in positive feelings. But in this instance, I am hopeful that the FCC’s Sixth Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) ...
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06.27.18 Foundational Fairness My oldest daughter, Emma, is attending her first “away camp” this week. It’s going surprisingly well given the texts and pictures we’ve seen from the chaperones. I admit to having some mixed feelings – I miss Emma being home, but at the same time I am so excited for her to have this incredible experience and meet some potentially lifelong friends. Having just completed fourth grade, she is also still learning about how to treat others in a group dynamic (and how to stand up for herself when others may not be treating her well) – this camp is perfect for that type of learning given its mission and the input of older counselors ...
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I would like to invite you to participate in an event that I have specially prepared for our community of professionals. It is the Live Webinar NETWORK INVENTORY MANAGEMENT - Empower your sales team to have analytical insights, deliver customized networks proposals and convert more leads into customers. It will take place on   Thursday, February 22th 12pm PST | 2pm CST | 3pm EST  The event is online, live and free. The main focus will be on how to increase the speed in the elaboration of proposals and the closing of new businesses but we'll also I will also give fundamental advice for the reduction of planning, construction, operation ...
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EnergyWire's Peter Behr attended Software and Supply Chain Assurance (SSCA) Working Groups meeting and wrote about what he heard: UL working to create certifications for Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and UTC's Cyber Supply Chain Risk Management For Utilities — Roadmap For Implementation ( http://www.utc.org/publication-alert/cyber-supply-chain-risk-management-utilities-%E2%80%94-roadmap-implementation ). Pete's article can be found at http://www.eenews.net/energywire/2015/06/09/stories/1060019875 . #Cybersecurity #SupplyChain #riskassessmen
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National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released the final version of guidance for Industrial Control System (ICS) Security. This is the Revision 2 of the document that was preceded by a release of two drafts for public comment. NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-82 is an almost 250-page document that provides a thorough overview of ICSs and how ICSs are different for IT systems, as well as a variety of considerations for ICS security. The document defines ICS as including Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, Distributed Control Systems (DCS), and other control system configurations such as Programmable Logic Controllers ...
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UTC was on hand at the FCC’s Workshop on E-Rate as representatives from the FCC and from educational institutions and organizations, as well as some communications service providers provided their perspectives on how the program is promoting broadband access to schools and libraries. Among the panelists during a session on “Statewide and Regional Case Studies”, John Gillispie, Executive Director, Missouri Research and Education Network went out of his way to repeatedly praise the services provided by Sho-Me Technologies, a subsidiary of Sho-Me Power, which was the only bidder to respond to the RFP that MREN put out for bid in December of 2013 for 243 sites. ...
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The Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) announced that it is offering the incumbent price cap carriers $1.675 billion annually for six years (2015-2020) to deploy rural broadband. The carriers have until August 27, 2015 to decide whether to accept the offers on a state-by-state basis. They must commit to offering broadband all across their service territory in each state. If they accept the money, the census blocks that they commit to serving will be taken off the table and will not be open for competitive bidding during a reverse auction that is expected to take place later this year or early next year for access to CAF funding in unserved ...
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I get asked this question a lot by others in the Telecom industry and by recent graduates, what training and further education is pertinent once in the professional industry of Telecommunications? In today's atmosphere of ever changing technology it is difficult to ascertain what training and education pertains. Our industry is has been moving in the IP direction for some time and many who have been in the industry are still trying to catch up with this technology. What would be some non-vendor specific training that would help professionals, like myself, gain the edge on these ever changing technologies like IP, MPLS, CoE, etc
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In the latest in a series of setbacks for an early deployment of the 700 MHz Public Safety Broadband Network in Los Angeles, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) issued a statement last week that it was suspending further construction of the network. This announcement was spurred by an earlier decision by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles City Council, which voted to suspend further constriction, including the construction of cell sites on fire stations and police stations, which created a firestorm of opposition from the union for the firefighters who are concerned about the health effects of RF ...
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This week, the Senate Intelligence Committee passed the "Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act" by a vote of 14-1. This is good news for utilities, because the bill would make it easier for them to share cyber information with the government and it would protect them from liability. The actual text of the bill was not available, but the bill reportedly directs sharing of classified and unclassified data with the private sector; authorizes private entities to monitor networks for customers for cybersecurity purposes, and to monitor networks with protections from liability; requires the Department of ...
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