Friday, January 27, 2012 - 11:00am
New Hanover County, N.C., has become the first U.S. region to make available a "white space" broadband mobile network -- what the FCC apparently calls "super Wi-Fi." (Read more in RAIN here and here). Members of the public can reportedly test the servcie by visiting some county parks, and county officials are using it for security cameras where cabling would be impractical.
County officials say they plan to take advantage of the capabilities of the new technology to provide data services to remote county offices (e.g. at landfill sites), to save money on surveillance cameras, and for other communication (e.g. to transmit water quality data for easier monitoring).
"White space" is unlicensed spectrum in the range used by VHF/UHF television frequencies. Signals in low frequency bands, such as white space, can travel farther and penetrate walls more easily than signals used in common Wi-Fi networks. In 2008 the FCC voted to allow carriers and devices to use certain white space spectrum. New Hanover County was ideal to launch the Super Wi-Fi, as it was the first to successfully transition from analog to digital television (which opened lots of VHF/UHF frequency space).
"For now," the StarNews reports, "county visitors and residents can only tap into Internet access over the white spaces in areas provided by the county... But new products are being developed for other uses, such as consumer-grade wireless devices that could allow Wi-Fi service to reach all areas of a home."
Read more here and here.