WASHINGTON--()--For the first time in the U.S., unused TV broadcast channels freed up by the transition to digital TV are being used to wirelessly deliver high-speed Internet connectivity to business, education and community users. These unused frequencies are commonly referred to as TV white spaces. Under an experimental license granted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Spectrum Bridge designed and deployed a wireless TV white spaces network to distribute broadband Internet connectivity in Claudville, Virginia. To ensure that Claudville residents can make the most of this new high-speed connectivity, Dell, Microsoft and the TDF Foundation contributed state-of-the-art computer systems and software applications to the local school, as well as the town’s new computer center. As a result, Claudville residents have already begun to reap the benefits of joining the online community.
“Broadband access in particular has the potential to dramatically improve quality of life for our citizens while ensuring our students have the tools they need to succeed. My thanks to Congressman Boucher for his continued leadership and commitment to advancing the lives of the citizens of Southwest Virginia.”
“Earlier this year, Jonathan Large, a member of the Patrick County Board of Supervisors, testified before the Subcommittee I chair about the need for broadband service in rural communities like Claudville,” said Congressman Rick Boucher, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet. “I am pleased that Spectrum Bridge, Dell, Microsoft and the TDF Foundation are presenting an innovative and promising solution by providing high-speed Internet services to the residents of Claudville through white space technology. I hope that Claudville will become a model for delivering broadband services to more rural communities in a cost-effective manner in the future.”
TV white spaces are vacant channels in the television band and are ideal for sending broadband signals across long distances and for penetrating walls, trees and other objects. These TV white spaces hold enormous potential for expanding broadband access, particularly in rural and other underserved areas.
“Our students and teachers did not have access to computers or broadband connectivity until now,” said Jerry Whitlow, administrator of Trinity Christian School. “The advantages these new technologies bring to our classrooms will be numerous, including expanded research and information resources, greater understanding of important world events and access to new distance learning opportunities.”
The TV white spaces network is providing the “middle mile” link between the wired backhaul and the WiFi hot spot networks deployed in Claudville’s business area as well as the school. The same network is also providing last mile broadband connectivity directly to end users.
Roger Hayden, Director of Claudville Computer Center and Chairman of the Patrick County Broadband Task Force said, “We have been working for many years to help the people of Claudville get high-speed data services that urban areas take for granted. The citizens here are directly benefiting from the digital dividend created by availability of TV white spaces frequencies. Being able to leverage a TV white spaces network that covers Claudville’s residential, business and the surrounding areas is a major step towards meeting this goal.”
Signals delivered over TV white spaces can cover large areas and are unlicensed in keeping with a November 2008 FCC decision, so device-makers and network operators using TV white spaces frequencies take precautions to prevent interference with licensed television broadcasts. To ensure that the use of TV white spaces in Claudville does not cause interference with local TV signals, the network is controlled by Spectrum Bridge’s intelligent TV white spaces database system. This database assigns non-interfering frequencies to white spaces devices, and can adapt in real time to new TV broadcasts, as well as to other protected TV band users operating in the area.
“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,” said Peter Stanforth, CTO of Spectrum Bridge. “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.”
TV white spaces hold promise for other rural communities in Virginia and throughout the country, as well as underserved areas, such as some inner cities. The rapid adoption of TV white spaces rules will allow industry to respond to government initiatives that seek increased broadband penetration on the state and national levels.
"Thanks to innovative leaders such as Dell, Microsoft, Spectrum Bridge and the TDF Foundation, Virginia students in every corner of the Commonwealth have a chance at a 21st century learning experience," said Governor Timothy M. Kaine. "Broadband access in particular has the potential to dramatically improve quality of life for our citizens while ensuring our students have the tools they need to succeed. My thanks to Congressman Boucher for his continued leadership and commitment to advancing the lives of the citizens of Southwest Virginia.”
To discover what white spaces channels are available in your area, the Web site ShowMyWhiteSpace.com offers a free search tool that lists all open white spaces channels at any address in the U.S. This site also contains white spaces news and information, as well as links to FCC documents and other valuable white spaces resources.
About Spectrum Bridge Inc.
Spectrum Bridge is making wireless spectrum more available, accessible and productive for everyone as part of its Universal Spectrum Access solutions. Named to Fierce Wireless’ Fierce 15 as one of “the most innovative and smart emerging companies in the wireless industry,” the company is privately held and headquartered in Lake Mary, Florida. For more information, contact us at (866) 598-7426 or visit SpectrumBridge.com.
Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services they need and value. For more information, visit www.dell.com.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
TDF is a Washington DC-based venture capital fund dedicated to building industry-leading companies that solve important problems in the Communications sector. TDF established the TDF Foundation to focus on bringing broadband access and computing technology to low-income and unserved communities where it will have a meaningful impact and where results are measurable.