09.15.2010 03:00 PM
Ohio Hospital Launches White Space Broadband Trial
LOGAN, OHIO: The Hocking Valley
Community Hospital in this Midwestern town has deployed a medical
white-space broadband network. The hospital was aided by Google and Spectrum
Bridge on the project.
The Hocking Valley Community Hospital is a 25-bed critical-access hospital with
an 18-bed skilled nursing facility, and a 10-bed geriatric psychiatric unit. Spectrum
Bridge of Lake Mary, Fla., said the Ohio hospital is the first to use
unoccupied TV spectrum for a telemedicine network.
It was created by establishing a wireless data link between a local Internet
service provider and the Logan-Hocking County Health Department. WiMax radios
from Airspan are placed in and around the hospital for access throughout the
campus. The network’s being used to transfer data from ambulances and fire
trucks, for indoor broadband access and outdoor surveillance.
The Hocking hospital is Spectrum Bridge’s fourth white-space network
deployment. The company maintains a database of broadcast television spectrum,
and tracks those frequencies not in use. The third-party usage of so-called
“white spaces” was triggered by last year’s full transition to digital
television. The white spaces, formerly known as “taboo channels,” were left
mostly fallow during analog transmissions to prevent co-channel interference
between broadcast signals. The same protective measures were deemed unnecessary
for digital broadcasting.
The Ohio deployment comes as the FCC prepares to issue a second order on white
spaces at its regular meeting Sept. 23. That order will finalize the rules and
provisions for unlicensed consumer devices allowed to operate in white spaces.
See “FCC to Issue Second
White Spaces Order.”) Provisions likely will include whether or not
unlicensed devices are required to ping a dynamic spectrum database, for which
the FCC is still mulling an administrator. Both Spectrum Bridge and Google are
among companies vying to manage the spectrum database.
The pair teamed up previously on a wireless smart-grid power system deployment
in California’s Sierra mountain range. The Plumas Sierra Rural Electric
Cooperative in Portocola, Calif., launched the trial in June. (
See “Google Supports White
Space Smart Grid Trial.”) Spectrum Bridge was also involved in
municipal white-space broadband deployments in Claudeville, Va., and
-- Deborah D. McAdams