libraryA new partnership between the Wireless Internet Service Providers’ Association and the Gigabit Libraries Network aims to facilitate the deployment of TV white spaces (TVWS) broadband in libraries nationwide.

“The WISP needs experience with TVWS and libraries offer an ideal demo site in their local markets,” said Don Means, GLN Coordinator, in an email to Telecompetitor. He noted that WISPs also can get positive visibility in their communities by helping local libraries with their installation.

“That should also help the market open to TVWS to deliver home office end points earlier as prices drop,” added Means. He noted that TVWS systems cost about $1,000 today, making them affordable for libraries but not for individual households. The estimated price that will be attractive for an individual household is about $300, Means said.

The GLN/ WISPA partnership comes on the heels of trials of TV white spaces broadband that have produced positive results. Those trials, organized by the GLN last year, put TV white spaces equipment in libraries in different parts of the U.S., including rural and non-rural areas.

“We have found that TVWS technology can punch through with megabit rate Internet where no other solution can penetrate tree canopy, buildings and other obstructions,” said a representative from the Delta County, Colorado Public Library — one of the libraries that participated in the trials – in a press release issued by the GLN this morning. “TVWS systems are very easy to set up and a cost-effective connectivity option particularly in rural areas where fiber, DSL, [and] cable services are not available.”

TV white spaces equipment operates in vacant television broadcast spectrum, covering distances of several miles and offering broadband data rates comparable with DSL or cable modem service. It doesn’t require line of sight, making it well suited to densely forested areas and for indoor coverage.

Another of the participants in the GLN trials was the University of New Hampshire’s Broadband Center of Excellence (BCoE) – and in today’s release BCoE Executive Director Dr. Rouzbeh Yassini said the center is “excited about the possibilities presented by TV white space technology.”

Yassini has written a white paper on the outlook for TVWS and the BCoE is leading a statewide pilot consortium aimed at furthering the deployment of TVWS in libraries in rural parts of the state. BCoE is also working with the GLN on a “Libraries Whitespace Lab” to explore new applications for TVWS along with system-related issues.

Libraries in two Delaware communities also will be getting TVWS equipment to trial with the goal of determining the feasibility of deploying TVWS hubs at every library facility in the state. Leading the Delaware trials are the Office of the State Librarian and the University of Delaware.

The GLN’s white spaces trials were sponsored by a variety of organizations including Carlson Wireless, Adaptrum Inc., iconnective, Open Technology Institute/ New American Foundation, Internet2, Internet Archive, OneCommunity, CTC Networks, Spoton Networks and Keener Law Group.

In today’s announcement the GLN also said it would expand TVWS trials to include libraries in the Philippines, Finland and Malaysia.