The WhiteSpace Pilot demonstrates how integrating the near universal compatibility of wifi with the range and penetrating capabilities of TV White Space (TVWS) equipment can increase availability and convenience of wifi access at tens of thousands of new public library community hotspots.
Library groups from all regions of the country have begun to deploy TVWS networks with remote wifi access points in parks, on bookmobiles, kiosks, underserved library branches and in other publicly accessible places in their communities.
The pilot is now open to libraries and library consortia anywhere in the world and seeks new partners to explore the capabilities of TVWS to quickly and inexpensively extend broadband connectivity in underserved markets and communities.
The global pilot began as a local wireless initiative announced in May 2013 by Kansas City, Kansas Public Library to leverage otherwise high speed wireline connections to upgrade bandwidth to a remote branch stuck with an aging T1 connection. That effort quickly grew into the Kansas K20-Librarians WhiteSpace Pilot, a model for other states and the wider national project and now open to global participation.
Currently, the roughly 80 million people in the U.S. who rely on public libraries to provide broadband access must be in or just beside one of the 16,000+ facilities.
Launched early last October as the first national scale TV White Space trial in the US, over a dozen libraries and library consortia in six states began deploying TVWS devices to test their capability to dramatically (quickly, cheaply) widen geographical availability of library services.
TV White Space, though currently capable of less data throughput, has advantages both in a range measured in miles and in its ability to pass through walls, tree and other obstructions. And like wifi, TVWS (sometimes called Super WiFi) is also unlicensed radio spectrum, open and available to anyone with certified equipment to use with no fees or permissions attached.
“This new ‘plug and play’ wireless infrastructure has enormous potential to quickly and inexpensively provide broadband access to billions of people in underserved areas world over,” says Don Means, GLN Coordinator.
"TVWS systems are very easy to set up and a cost effective connectivity option particularly in rural areas offer where fiber, DSL, cable services are not available,” -John Gavan of Delta County, Colorado Public Library.
U.S. Project Proposal:
Pilots in Every State!
GLN has submitted a proposal under the Knight Challenge to provide matching funds supporting at least two library TVWS pilots in every state. Total estimated cost to deploy over 100 regional scale TVWS networks: <$1 million!
State Libraries agreeing to Participate as of 9/6:
Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSlA)
PLUS Assessments by:
Carnegie Mellon U.
CSU San Jose
Many more. Check it out!
Dynamic Spectrum Alliance
Wireless ISP Association-WISPA
Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R) -Singapore
Turku University of Applied Sciences -Finland
Power Automation - Singapore
Open Technology Institute / New American Foundation
Keener Law Group
U. New Hampshire/
Broadband Center of Excellence
“It is amazing how persuasive it is when something actually works. Having libraries engage in showing (even modestly) what is possible in this new TV White Space environment is the most persuasive way to get others up and running," -GLN advisor and internet pioneer, Vint Cerf.
"This pilot program(FCC Rural BB) will help us learn... how anchor institutions –including schools and libraries – can harness demand for the greater good of an entire community; and how new forms of wireless can reach deep into the interior of rural America." -Tom Wheeler, FCC Chairman
&/or join the Community Blog
Jennie Stapp, Vint Cerf, Michael Calabrese, Joanne Hovis, James Werle, Rick Whitt, Lev Gonick, Barlow Keener, John Windhausen, Susan Crawford, Dick Sherwin, Apurva Mody, Harold Feld, Jon Peha, Tim Callahan, Carson Block, Norm Jacknis, David Weinberger
In the News:
BB Communities Magazine
GCN - PULSE
MIT Tech Review