NorthWestern Energy has selected Full Spectrum’s FullMAXTM private, broadband, wireless communications system for some of its smart grid communication needs.

NorthWestern Energy provides electricity and natural gas to 668,300 customers in 349 cities in the western two-thirds of Montana, eastern South Dakota and central Nebraska. NorthWestern manages approximately 30,500 miles of electrical transmission and distribution lines and 9,375 miles of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines and storage facilities.

NorthWestern will use the FullMAXTM broadband wireless system to communicate with intelligent network devices including capacitor bank controllers, reclosers, voltage regulators and voltage sensors distributed along remote transmission and distribution electrical lines. Real time communications and control of intelligent grid devices increases electric power quality, reliability and efficiency. NorthWestern’s initial FullMAXTM deployment will be located in Philipsburg, Montana and is part of the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project coordinated by The Battelle Memorial Institute.

“We selected Full Spectrum for its ability to implement an advanced IP network, providing private wireless data coverage over extremely large and challenging terrains,” stated Vernan Hogge, Director of Telecommunications for NorthWestern Energy. “For large portions of our service territory, FullMAXTM is the most viable solution to meet our networking needs”. FullMAXTM base station radios are capable of creating wide area coverage up to 2,800 square miles from a single tower site.

“We are pleased to be working with NorthWestern Energy to meet their long term data connectivity needs,” stated Guy Simpson, Full Spectrum’s Chief Operating Officer. “Their service territory is a great example of how FullMAXTM can extend corporate and smart grid networks to locations not served by other technologies”.