When it comes to smart grid deployments the need for “open” architecture using Internet Protocol has become resounding (IP is one of our Winners of 2009 on GigaOM Pro). Hey, even the phone companies — who have long built closed, proprietary networks — want to offer something in the ballpark of an open network. This morning Verizon Wireless announced that it is partnering with Ambient Corporation to offer customers an “Open Smart Grid Communications Architecture,” which they bill as “an open communications network” for utilities’ smart grid programs. Ambient, which builds network gear and software based on IP will be supplying the smart grid network portion, and the architecture will run over Verizon Wireless’ 3G network. Verizon and Ambient say their network can connect with utilities’ private IP networks, and the duo is highlighting the security features and the long-term infrastructure investment of Verizon’s network.