WILMINGTON, NC (NEWS RELEASE) — New Hanover County government is once again, on the cutting edge of technology with the launch of the country’s first TV white space network. TV white space flows along the old, analog television spectrum which was abandoned with the local area’s national launch of digital TV in 2008.
Because of the groundwork laid last year with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to introduce rules for use of the white space spectrum, commercial equipment is now beginning to hit the market. New Hanover County is the first in the nation to deploy the new FCC certified radios.
New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Vice-chairman, Jason Thompson spearheaded the county’s efforts in the project. “New Hanover County is proud to lead the nation with the first commercial installation of a white space network at the county’s flagship park, Hugh MacRae Park”, Thompson said. “We will be using this new technology to extend our networks outdoors into our parks and gardens to provide enhanced services to our citizens.”
New Hanover County entered into a partnership with communication technology company, TV Band Service, LLC, in 2009 to test a wireless network that could allow for wireless coverage up to sixteen times that of current Wi-Fi. TVBS was granted an experimental license from the FCC last year.
Thompson, and county Information Technology Director, Leslie Chaney have been working with the FCC and TVBS to help promulgate rules that has allowed for testing and deployment at Hugh MacRae Park. Phase 2 deployment, to begin in January, will include Veterans Park and historic Airlie Gardens. Several locations in the city of Wilmington will also be included in the second phase.
Community leaders have been eager to keep the area in the race to develop new technologies and uses since the FCC chose the local television market as the first in the country to transition to digital TV. New Hanover County and Wilmington are also noted in the FCC’s National Broadband plan as a model of the usability of the spectrum.
New Hanover County has provided network IP cameras, Wi-Fi routers, antennas and other hardware as well as technical installation of the new FCC approved radios. New Hanover County, city of Wilmington and TVBS have been using white spaces for a number of business applications already, including water quality monitoring and security purposes.
Chaney says the county and city governments collaborated on a pilot project that provided Wi-Fi and video surveillance in the Creekwood housing development. The county is also using white space to automate the collection of water quality data in environmentally sensitive areas that would have required trenching of wires.
In testing white space, Chaney says “We see ranges of up to 1.5 miles on a point-to-point application of the spectrum including signal propagation through vegetation and buildings. Installing these newly approved radios and appropriate antennas could allow wireless service far beyond traditional boundaries.”