America’s first commercial “TV White Spaces Network” was launched this week in Wilmington, New Hanover County, North Carolina. Wilmington, as the first U.S. city to shift from analog to digital TV, was chosen as the present-day site of the first commercial network since the city had early access to white spaces in that TV changeover, and was used as the test bed for the new technology. The city has been testing white space applications since 2010.
White spaces, sometimes used in the context of “Super Wi-Fi,” is being re-tagged by some as “SuperWhiteFi” to more closely describe the unused spectrum between TV stations that resulted from the 2008 transition from analog to digital transmission of TV broadcast. The TV frequencies are lower, enabling signals to travel further, and penetrate foliage and walls better. The tradeoff to achieving more range is less speed. Nonetheless, city officials presiding over the Madison rollout see better range as an important plus for delivering services.
Cameras and wireless Internet access were installed at Wilmington’s city parks, where the white space spectrum could allow wireless service to go through trees and thick foliage. According to a press release, the network applications are designed to provide access for local functions such as video-security surveillance and transmitting data about water quality.