Last week the Gigabit Libraries Network (GLN)
announced an open call for participation in a national pilot program to explore use of TV band white space spectrum, which some have referred to as “Super Wi-Fi”, to support remote library Wi-Fi hotspots in their communities.
Don Means, GLN coordinator, explained, “Public Libraries seem ideally situated to take a national leadership role in evaluating the capabilities and limitations of Super Wi-Fi technologies for potential benefit to the 10‘s of millions of patrons already depending on wireless access from their libraries.”
Over 90 percent of U.S. libraries already use Wi-Fi to provide no-fee Internet access to approximately 80 million people, according to GLN. The recently announced KC K-20 Libraries” pilot initiative in Kansas City, KS will serve as a template for other libraries to use in developing similar “Super Wi-Fi” projects in their area.
One of the project's supporters, Jim Carlson of Carlson Wireless, commented, “The capabilities of White Space or ‘Super Wi-Fi’ technologies to deliver wireless connectivity through barriers such as trees, hills and buildings, combined with value of the internet will allow libraries to provide broadband access at remote and mobile library sites. Our RuralConnect product will also allow libraries to create cost effective, in-house network that can help meet their growing bandwidth and information needs.”
Advisor Lev Gonick, CEO of OneCommunity noted that “libraries have served as a destination for those seeking basic Internet access for well over 25 years. The GLN's new Super Wi-Fi initiative positions the library community at the leading edge of next generation broadband. Access to advanced collaboration technologies and services will further establish libraries as a key community resource for health and wellness, 21st century skills acquisition, and lifelong learning.”
The project is being supported by Carlson Wireless, Adaptrum Inc., iconectiv, the Open Technology Institute at the New America Foundation, Microsoft, Internet2, NATOA, Internet Archive, OneCommunity, CTC Networks, Spoton Networks and Keener Law Group.