Spectrum Bridge claims world's first white-space network

Spectrum Bridge said it has designed and deployed the world's first white-space network using an experimental license from the FCC.

The company, which has created the online spectrum marketplace SpecEx and earlier this year launched a new website to provide consumers with the ability to find any open white-space channels at any location in the U.S., said it built a network to provide broadband connectivity to Claudville, Va., a small rural community lacking broadband connectivity.

The network rollout also involved Dell, Microsoft and the TDF Foundation giving computer systems and software applications to the local school as well as the town's new computer center.

Spectrum Bridge said the white-space network is serving as a middle-mile link between the wired backhaul and WiFi hotspot networks deployed in Claudville's business area and the school. The same network is also providing last-mile broadband connectivity to end users.

Last year, the FCC approved the unlicensed use of TV white space spectrum--which is unused TV broadcast channels--for wireless applications and devices. However, the commission added some rigorous conditions under which the devices would have to operate to prevent interference with surrounding signals, namely wireless microphones and television broadcasts.

The FCC approved the use of both unlicensed fixed band devices and portable personal devices that have geolocation capabilities and access to an FCC database of TV signals and locations of venues such as stadiums, churches and entertainment venues where wireless microphones were being used. These database and geolocation capabilities would, in theory, prevent  interference with broadcast TV stations and wireless microphones and ensure compliance with FCC rules.

Spectrum Bridge said the network in Claudville does not cause interference with local TV signals, as the network is controlled by the company's intelligent TV white spaces database system, which assigns non-interfering frequencies to white-space devices and can adapt in real time to new TV broadcasts.

"Due to its availability and range, TV white spaces have proved to be a very cost-effective way to distribute high-speed Internet in this heavily forested and hilly rural community," said Peter Stanforth, CTO of Spectrum Bridge, in a release. "The non-line of sight conditions, coupled with long distances between radios, would have posed significant challenges to existing unlicensed alternatives. TV white spaces could prove to be invaluable to those striving to bring broadband access to underserved and unserved rural communities."

For more:
- see this Spectrum Bridge release

Related articles:
FCC approves white spaces, creates interference restrictions
Spectrum Bridge launches white space website
FCC white space rules to take effect in March
Microsoft-backed study values white spaces at more than $100 billion