On October 21st, a group of industry and public leaders announced that the town of Claudville, Virginia is the first community in America to use TV white spaces to deliver broadband connectivity to local residents, businesses and students.
The white spaces network, designed and deployed by Spectrum Bridge is providing the “middle mile” link between the wired backhaul and the WiFi hot spot networks deployed in Claudville’s business area as well as the school. The same network is also providing last mile broadband connectivity directly to residential users.
Dell and Microsoft donated state of the art computers, internet video equipment and software to insure the students and community could make the most of the high speed internet system. In order to prevent inference with TV broadcasters and other protected users, the radios in Claudville are managed by Spectrum Bridge's white spaces database. This database assigns non-interfering frequencies to the radios, and can adapt in real time to new TV broadcasts.
To announce this first ever white spaces network, students, business and community leaders in Claudville were connected to government and industry leaders in Washington D.C. via a live video conference over the white spaces network link connected to the Trinity Christian school in Claudville.
Over 50 representatives from the FCC, national media, congressional offices and other VIPs gathered in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill. Congressman Rick Boucher explained how white spaces could be used to cross the digital divide and what getting high-speed connectivity meant to the residents of Claudville and how it could benefit other rural communities in his district and around the country. Representatives from Dell, Microsoft, Spectrum Bridge and the TDF Foundation also addressed the standing room only crowd that included FCC Commissioners Michael J. Copps and Meredith Attwell Baker.
The entire proceeding in Washington DC was broadcast live to the Trinity school in Claudville via the White Spaces network and once the speakers in D.C. were finished, the same video link enabled the speakers in Claudville to address everyone gathered in the Rayburn building.
An assembly was held at Trinity Christian School, with the entire student body in attendance. Representatives from Congressman Boucher's office and well as the Virginia Governor's office were also present. Business and community leaders stressed how the country cannot afford to leave rural communities out of the Internet revolution and that white spaces could be used to economically close the growing "digital divide."
Jerry Whitlow, administrator of the school, explained how he would use the new equipment and high speed connectivity for distance learning both for his students and the community at large. Roger Haden, Chairman of the Patrick County Broadband Task Force, told how broadband could help fuel economic growth and improve the quality of life for Claudville residents.
News of the nation’s first white spaces network spread quickly throughout tech publications. Below is a small sampling of organizations who picked up the story; look for more to appear soon: