Womble Bond Dickinson attorney Marty Stern addressed a group of utility information and communications technology (ICT) professionals on emerging fixed wireless broadband opportunities at the annual conference of the Utilities Technology Council in Fort Worth, Texas. Stern, who leads the firm’s communications, technology & media team, led a panel discussion that focused on new and emerging opportunities for utilities involving fixed, wireless broadband spectrum involving a mix of licensed and unlicensed spectrum. UTC is a global association of electric, gas and water utilities, as well as natural gas pipelines, focused on the intersection of ICT and utility infrastructure.

Stern and other speakers addressed the new Citizens Broadband Radio Service being rolled out by the Federal Communications Commission, additional high-capacity Educational Broadband Service spectrum that will be coming online, particularly in rural areas, as the FCC completes its updated rules for the band. The panel also addressed utility use cases involving “TV White spaces”, unlicensed spectrum in the VHF and UHF television bands now widely available in rural markets, which utilize unused TV channels for fixed broadband applications, such as wirelessly extending broadband networks to remote areas and Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications.

Stern was joined on the panel by Dr. Apurva Mody, Chairman of the WhiteSpace Alliance and CTO of the U.S. National Spectrum Consortium, and Andreas Bitzarakis, Director of Broadband at Select Spectrum, a firm providing marketing, consulting and analytic services to buyers and sellers of spectrum.