Monday, October 26, 2009

Freed-up TV channels bring new, promising broadband service to a rural community

Television "white spaces," unused broadcast frequencies made available by the switch to digital TV, are being used for the first time to deliver high-speed Internet access wirelessly. Using an experimental license granted by the Federal Communications Commission, Spectrum Bridge, a Florida-based firm, has designed and deployed a wireless white-spaces network to provide broadband connectivity in Claudville, Va., in the shadow of the Blue Ridge, near the North carolina line.

Some researchers say white spaces hold the key to providing broadband signals to rural America, because they can carry signals across long distances and penetrate walls, trees
and other objects. The network is providing the link between the wired broadband provider and wireless hotspots in Claudville's business and school areas and will also provide broadband access directly to end users, Reuters reports.

"Due to its availability and range, TV white spaces have proved to be a very cost-effective way to distribute high-speed Internet in this heavily forested and hilly rural community," Peter Stanforth, CTO of Spectrum Bridge, told Reuters. "The non-line of sight conditions, coupled with long distances between radios, would have posed significant challenges to existing unlicensed alternatives. TV white spaces could prove to be invaluable to those striving to bring broadband access to underserved and unserved rural communities." (Read more)

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