First White Spaces Network Brings Broadband Internet to School, Businesses, and Homes in Rural Claudville, Virginia

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In a landmark decision that I blogged about last fall,
the U.S. FCC opened up underused portions of the broadcast TV
spectrum to unlicensed wireless devices. Referred to as the White Spaces this spectrum
has huge potential for a variety of wireless applications, including providing
broadband connectivity to rural communities all over the U.S.

Today marks the first
demonstration
of broadband access using the TV white spaces. It's
happening in the rural Appalachian community of Claudville, Virginia. Until
now, Claudville has had no broadband access of any kind because of its remote
location.

Funding for this demonstration came from the TDF Foundation,
which provided a fibre optic line to Claudville. Dell, Microsoft, and Spectrum Bridge partnered to connect six
locations to the fibre optic "backbone" using prototype wireless white spaces
equipment. These locations include the post office, several businesses and
homes, and the only school in Claudville. The school now has broadband for the
first time ever, as well as a computer in each classroom donated by Dell and
Microsoft.

This demonstration proves that the White Spaces can be used
to extend broadband from an Internet backbone to remote rural locations like
Claudville. The beauty of the Claudville demonstration is that it can be easily
replicated throughout the U.S.  Even better,
rural communities can set up a White Spaces network without an FCC license and
at a lower cost than any existing alternative.  We expect it to slowly transform the lives of
the people of Claudville and, going forward, the lives of people in rural communities
throughout the U.S.

Read more about the Claudville demonstration in
this case study.

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