North Carolina Officially Launches the First Commercial TV White Spaces Network


North Carolina Officially Launches the First Commercial TV White Spaces Network

My Comments

There was an official launch of a commercial-service-ready Internet-service backbone based on “TV White space” in Wilmington, North Carolina, USA. The network was to use vacant frequencies in the VHF (most likely Band III) and UHF bands that were used by TV broadcasters before they went to digital technology and shut off their analogue signals. It is primarily a fixed-wireless setup but there is the ability to use transportable modems at the customer’s end of the link. One major benefit was the ability for improved “non-line-of-sight” performance which means that forests or built-up areas cannot easily interfere with the signal.

The idea behind the “white-space” network was to make Wilmington a “smart city”, a proving ground and commercial-rollout showcase for the technology. But there were some gaps concerning the rollout and delivery of this technology to customers. For example, could customers use an existing rooftop VHF or UHF TV aerial (antenna) that is still in good working order as the aerial for the “white-space” service’s link; or would they need to install a new aerial on the mast. 

As well, the main deployment was to cover Wilmington’s parks and gardens but I would rather that we see a full-scale “TV White Space” rollout that encompasses one or more country towns with associated hamlets or villages. Here, this can be used to assess coverage of sparse living areas like farmland or mountainous area and to assess how a network operator can go about covering particular areas where there is low coverage.

Similarly, I would like to find out whether the service is really costly to provide to the customers and what the real-world bandwidth and service reliability is like in a “White Space” Internet-delivery setup.

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