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Wilmington Tests WiFi in White Spaces

WILMINGTON: N.C.: A second municipality has launched a wireless broadband network in TV white spaces. New Hanover County in North Carolina, which includes the City of Wilmington, has launched a wireless network in the radio frequency bandwidth normally left open to prevent interference between TV channels. This so-called “Smart City” effort was coordinated by TV Band Service of Wilmington and Spectrum Bridge of Lake Mary, Fla.

The North Carolina coastal community would be the second in the nation to launch a municipal broadband network in TV white spaces. Claudville, Va., became the first last October. WiFi hot spots were created in Claudville; white spaces were used for backhaul. The community launched on a single frequency under and 18-month experimental license from the FCC.

The Wilmington experiment is being conducted under a similar authorization in a similar fashion, with backhaul from WiFi access points. Initial applications include traffic camera monitoring; law enforcement surveillance of parks, which also will have hot spots for public access;monitoring wetlands and water-pumping stations; medical telemetry and expanded broadband access in schools.

Dr. John Chapin, consultant to TV Band Service, said “a variety of radios and applications,” were being used in the trial, with the intention of including more vendors, government entities and organizations.

The network relies on Spectrum Bridge’s TV channel database to avoid interfering with those channels. The database is said to “dynamically assigns non-interfering frequencies to white spaces devices, and adapts in
real-time to new TV broadcasts, as well as other protected TV band users operating in the area.” The Claudville network also relies on the database, which broadcast proponents say must be accurate to work properly.

(Image of New Hanover County Courthouse by Jimmy Emerson)

October 22, 2009:Virginia Town Exemplifies White Space Usage
Internet access is limited, and up until a couple of years ago, it was entirely nonexistent.