Fiber Internet Expansion is Just the Beginning

Home-based smart devices are becoming more and more common in everyday life. These devices connect our world in new and unexpected ways, but as they multiply in the years ahead, the demand for bandwidth and data processing will increase exponentially. Fiber-based internet is the only technology capable of handling this growing demand. That’s one reason GVEC is working to expand our fiber network in the Guadalupe Valley and surrounding areas. GVEC Fiber is the world’s fastest internet technology, delivering speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps). Fiber’s dependability, speed and bandwidth will help us make sure the Guadalupe Valley doesn’t fall behind as the world becomes more connected.

GVEC Fiber Powers up a Stronger Grid

Cooperative members may not realize that high-speed internet is just one benefit of GVEC Fiber. Fiber is empowering us to build a stronger, more reliable electric grid, too—a grid that’s less prone to power outages and that helps us do a better job of reducing the size and duration of outages that do occur.

Building Intelligence into the Electric Grid

GVEC Fiber has the potential to greatly increase and enhance communications along our electric grid. We’ve been working for several years to turn that potential into a smarter grid, and we’ve made good progress. In May 2019, however, we took a big step forward by beginning the gradual rollout of SurvalentONE—a new Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) software suite.

SCADA software helps connect, monitor and coordinate the numerous individual parts of GVEC’s electric grid, and SurvalentONE is optimized for fiber-based communications. The convergence of GVEC’s ongoing fiber expansion with our gradual implementation of SurvalentONE is enabling us to build a more robust and centralized grid—a smarter grid with increased ability to coordinate and “communicate” with itself.

SurvalentONE will help unleash the full potential of fiber-based communications. With fiber technology as its communications backbone, this smarter grid will enable us to more effectively monitor its health in real time, including the temperature, efficiency and condition of power lines, transformers and other devices. The grid we’re building can fix some power outages without human intervention, while other outages can sometimes be prevented altogether. This smarter grid will not only help reduce the overall incidence of outages, but also their duration and the number of members affected.

Fiber, ‘Distributed Energy’ Assets and Renewable

As the Texas energy sector moves toward greater dependence on renewable generation assets (e.g. solar and wind), fiber communications will play an even greater role in helping make sure the grid runs as efficiently as possible.

A single renewable asset produces less energy than a single traditional asset (e.g., coal, natural gas, etc.). As a result, transitioning to a grid with a greater percentage of power from renewable sources requires more overall assets. Many of these renewable assets will need to be situated close to the distribution points, an arrangement known as “distributed energy.” As the adoption of renewable grows, there will be more distributed energy points than ever, but they will all be part of the same grid. This will require greater overall coordination across the grid. The fact that renewable sources provide varying levels of energy over time adds additional complexity to the management of a distributed energy grid; comprehensive fiber-based communications is the best way to successfully develop and achieve optimum performance from the smart grid of tomorrow.

Preparing for the Future

GVEC members and Internet customers can rest assured that we’re working hard to prepare our region for the future. Fiber-based internet is just one piece of that puzzle; a fiber-connected electric grid is another major piece. As our expansion of GVEC Fiber Internet continues, our build-out of a fiber-optimized electric grid continues alongside. This will help assure the Guadalupe Valley will be an active, up-to-date part of tomorrow’s hyper-connected, data-driven world.

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