Widespread power outages caused by this year’s Winter Storm Uri brought serious consequences to Texas, exposing vulnerabilities in the state’s energy infrastructure, but also in its telecommunications (telecom) networks.
In an article for Energy Storage News, Ricardo F. Rodriguez, research analyst at Guidehouse Insights, said the threat of global climate instability has redefined the importance of network resilience for telecom operators and end users alike.
According to the article, Uri left nearly 370,000 Texans unable to access essential communications services as wireless providers in the state struggled to recover from historically low temperatures. Uri’s effects also disabled several 911 call centers and limited the Texas Division of Emergency Management’s ability to use the national Emergency Alert System to share important updates with Texans in high risk areas.
As a result, Rodriguez said residents and lawmakers around the state are calling for reforms aimed at improving communication networks’ resilience and recovery against extreme weather events.
“Support is swelling for state and local government mandates involving battery backup power for telecom sites, the RESILIENT Networks Act is scheduled for consideration later this year, and a variety of advanced battery storage technology solutions are ready to be deployed,” he said. “With this activity in play, US telecom companies should begin to review technology options and strategies that facilitate just and equitable deployments.”
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